Supporting Schools to Safely Reopen

Supporting Schools to Safely Reopen

When schools in Nepal reopened their doors after being closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns, our teams did everything they could to support children’s safe return to the classroom.

Fifteen-year-old Aaliyah’s father passed away when she was young. She is now being raised by her mother along with her three siblings. Her mother is a farmer and survives hand to mouth through subsistence farming. Despite these hardships, she has sent all four children to school.

“I was married young, and I have no education. This is why I am facing so much hardship today. I do not want my children to suffer the same.”

Aaliyah’s mother

Aaliyah attends the Adara-supported Yalbang school in Humla, Nepal – a five hour walk from her village. Thankfully, Yalbang has a hostel where she stays during school term. Due to COVID-19, Yalbang school remained closed for many months over two years, affecting her learning immensely.

Since the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, Adara has offered distance education programmes across all 18 Adara-supported schools. In Humla, we have offered radio education to help students continue learning during school closures. Through this radio programme, teachers delivered classes on key subjects such as math, science and English four hours a day, six days a week. We have paired these with home learning kits that include textbooks and stationery. This continued throughout 2021 as new waves of COVID-19 hit Nepal.

This programme ensured that thousands of students like Aaliyah were able to continue learning, even while unable to attend school physically. However, this was still a challenging time for Aaliyah.

“My household chores at home distracted me from my learning and I was worried my mother would not send me back to school when they opened,” Aaliyah says. “I feel happy and lucky that she has.”

“Other parents did not send their children back to school after lockdown as they need help with farming and housework to get through this crisis. Some girls of my age have even got married”.

Radio Education in Nepal, during COVID-19 lockdowns

When schools in Nepal began to reopen their doors after being closed due to COVID-19, our teams knew it was critical they support children to return to the classroom. Aaliyah was thrilled to go back.

With many students like Aaliyah eager to return to school, our teams spent the remaining few months of 2021 were focused on encouraging parents to send their children back to school, ensuring schools continued to operate in a COVID-safe way and catching up on the learning students may have missed. Teachers went above and beyond to provide struggling students with extra academic support, especially those who had end of year exams to prepare for.

Despite all the challenges, Aaliyah is now determined to focus on her studies and succeed in life. Aaliyah’s dream is to become a teacher to serve her community.

Read more stories of endurance, like Aaliyah’s, in our 2021 Operations Report.

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Child in Nepal