In a recent trip to her son’s school, Nirmala Pariyar was required to sign a document. Previously when she had visited she would use her thumb to sign as she was unable to write. This time Pariyar could confidently sign her name. A teacher asked how she had learnt to do this.
Proudly, she responded, “I go to mother’s class.”
At the heart of educating children, is educating their mothers. Since May 2016, Hands in Outreach (HIO) have been leading a program titled “Be Part of Her Dream” which has the target of educating 50 mothers of HIO sponsored children. The classes run 4-5 days a week, in two locations and are led by two teachers.
HIO is a local Nepali non-government organisation that Adara has partnered with in Kathmandu, to help improve access to education for girls. HIO tackles gender disparity in education by supporting more than 100 children and families living in dire conditions in disadvantaged parts of Kathmandu. Most of these children are girls. HIO has now extended their program to include the education of mothers.
Most mothers are illiterate and come from a range of backgrounds and situations. As a result, the levels of understanding and motivation of each mother is inevitably different. The teachers leading the classes have been trained to respond to this by implementing a variety of creative learning techniques. Mothers have been taught through dance, song, computers or the use of real life objects.
Thuli Maya is a widow living with her two sister in-laws and raising her three children. As a child she was never given the opportunity to attend school. She has now been attending mother’s class for four months and is able to read small words in Nepali and English and has learnt to sign her name in English.
This program has not only given these women an invaluable skill, but provided them with a sense of confidence in and outside of the class room. Now the mothers can dial numbers on a telephone by themselves, can understand their children’s report cards, or sign their names. This interest in learning stretches far beyond their notebooks as they are driven to be actively involved in their children’s development and education.
These classes will continue for at least another year and a half, after which an expansion of the program will be considered.