Parshuram, 13, lives alone with his mother in a tiny thatched house in Janaki Rural Municipality, Banke District. Parshuram’s father passed away before he was born, leaving them a small piece of land.
Parshuram’s mother works for other families, performing household duties in return for rice, clothing and other necessities. This supports the daily food needs of the family. However when his mother is unable to work, they go without food for that day.
Due to their low income, Parshuram has not attended school or received any education. “My mother used to cry seeing other children going to school, but she could not afford my stationery and uniform to send me,” says Parshuram.
Milap, one of INF Australia’s partner organisations in Nepal, runs verandah classes for children who are out of school due to lack of awareness, poverty, or who drop out due to other circumstances. These classes are facilitated by volunteer teachers who are trained by Milap, and gives this group of children the chance to study and enrol in education that is outside of regular schooling. These classes provide basic skills of literacy and numeracy, and confidence and experience of a classroom environment, in order to make it possible for these children – often stigmatised because of poverty – to enrol in government schools.One day, Parshuram noticed other children attending the verandah class, so he told his mother about it. However, due to her work, she was unable to meet with the teacher, so he relates, “I myself went to talk to the teacher and asked her if I could join the class. She happily accepted me as a student, and I started learning there. I became very happy and shared this to my mother and saw her happiness on her face.”
Parshuram is now learning the alphabet and numbers, and is now able to read and write simple sentences. Milap [the organisation’s name in Nepali means “reconciliation”] is committed to ensuring that Parshuram, and children like him, are able to fulfill their dream to study and reach for their God-given potential.