Community-owned schools change children’s lives

Tika R Pradhan

Kapilvastu, June 2:

Schools were beyond the reach of the children of Kajarhawa, a village populated mostly by the backward communities, Dalits and Janajatis. But the situation changed once the UNDP-funded Community-owned Primary School (COPE) programme was launched in the village.

“Poverty and ignorance had prevented locals from sending their children to schools. Now,

90 per cent of children of the Kajarhawa village attend school,” said Bishnu Kala Pandey, head mistress at the Chuda Kumari Primary School situated at Singaraha of the Kajarhawa VDC-9. With all three female teachers visiting homes every weekend to convince the parents to send their children to school, the community school saw an encouraging turn of girls, a rare phenomenon in the terai. Out of a total of 153 students, 42 were girls.

“We are very happy to see our daughters going to school,” said Gyanmati Giri, a parent, adding that the parents did not send their daughters to school earlier because the schools were very far and the teachers were all male. Vice-president of the school management committee, Bharat Prasad Nau, said the school was established because of the wish of the community. The Shree Ram Janaki Primary School of Jeetpur at the Shisawa village

development committee-9 has also been able to attract a good number of students. Three enthusiastic ladies have been working at the village to encourage the people to send their daughters to schools. Thanks to their efforts, 69 out of 173 fresh enrolments are girls.