“Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to be a nurse,” says Ditya, who is in her final year at Yalbang School. “We don’t have good health services here in Humla. So I want to go and become a nurse and bring my knowledge back to the people of Humla.”
Ditya is originally from Chhipra, a Humli village a long way from any roads. Ditya went to boarding school in Kathmandu until she was in grade six. Her family lives far from any schools in Humla, so her parents thought this would be the best way for her to receive a quality education. When they found out about the excellent education offered at Yalbang School, they were excited to know Ditya could attend school much closer to home.
Twenty years ago, on her first trip to Humla, Adara Group founder Audette Exel met a man on a mountain with a dream. His name was Kumar Lama. He wanted to create opportunities for all Humli children, and to eliminate the need for parents to send their children out of Humla to receive a quality education. All these years later, that dream has become a reality for children like Ditya.
“The main reason for establishing this hostel was because the settlement and the villages are scattered,” says Kumar Lama. “It takes several hours, or even days, to get from one village to another.”
Since 1998, Adara has partnered with Kumar’s Humla-based non-profit organisation, the Himalayan Children Society, to improve the infrastructure and quality of education by building and equipping Yalbang School, a primary and lower-secondary school. The school also has a hostel where children can stay while studying so they do not have to walk long distances to and from school.
Adara supports the hostel to ensure children have nutritious food and are cared for by dedicated teams. Adara also provides scholarships to students in the form of uniforms and textbooks, and funds the salaries of three teachers.
Ditya now goes to school in Yalbang and lives at one of the Adara supported hostels so she doesn’t have to walk for hours each day.
“I like being able to go to school here,” she says. “I feel like we’re linked with our culture and language.”
Today the Yalbang School is an amazing government school. Originally a small room with three students, it now has 286 students, 16 teachers and 222 students living in two on-site hostels. Children from all around Humla come to attend school here.
The Yalbang School was Adara’s first ever project in 1998. In 2017, it was named as the best school in remote Nepal by the Ministry of Education among 30,000 government and 7,000 private schools in Nepal. It serves as a model for remote schooling throughout the country, and was the foundation for our work in earthquake affected Ghyangfedi. It also serves as the cornerstone for our work creating child friendly classrooms, and public private partnerships for children in remote places.
We are so proud of the beacon of hope and the model that the Yalbang school has become.