We are all the same. This statement came to life this past week while working with community leaders in Sundarbazaar, a semi-developed village of Lamjung, Nepal. The group of 15 was comprised of Head School Masters (principals), and the chairperson s from the School Management Committees, who together with the government, are responsible for providing and funding public education in 10 of the surrounding communities.
They had many pressing concerns they wanted to work on including ways to draw in marginalized children who are not attending school. Marginalized is a word they use to describe those that are poor, living in remote areas (more than 3 hours walk one way to school), or belonging to a lower caste. As in many North American cities, public school is not free in Nepal and even with a small reimbursement program (1000rps~$14 USD) many cannot afford the remaining school fees, book fees, and mandatory uniform costs which may total (10,500rps~$150USD per year).
The most common topics these community leaders wanted to work on were:
- How to organize people towards a common goal
- Long term goal setting and planning
- How to establish good relationships between the community and the schools
We broke into small groups and brainstormed on methods that have worked so far in mobilizing people during times of change.