The following is an excerpt from an article in the Nepali Times by Cynthia Choo, highlighting Teach For Nepal's efforts to expand educational opportunity for all children in Nepal. One of Teach For Nepal's current initiatives is a campaign to encourage more female applicants to its program in a nation where currently just 14% of teachers in secondary government schools are women.
Babita Kushwaha moved to Kathmandu when she was 10 from her home district of Rautahat in the plains to study in a private school against her family’s wishes. Supported by her brother, Babita completed her undergraduate degree in Kathmandu University and is now a Teach For Nepal Fellow.
Since last year Babita has been teaching English at Nawalpur Secondary School to students of Grades 6-10. The 24-year-old says she was inspired to join Teach For Nepal after seeing the positive changes they were bringing to public schools.
“If I had caved in to family disapproval of me getting an education, I would not be doing what I’m doing now,” says Babita who turned down a well-paying job offer at an INGO to join the fellowship program. “I felt it was my turn to give back to society,” she adds.
With help from friends, Babita also worked to set up a small reading corner at the school. Her youthful energy and dedication has made her a favourite among students, many of whom aspire to be like her.
“I want to pass my exams because of Babita Miss and go to Kathmandu to become a nurse,” says Sumita Tamang, a tenth grader.
Although Babita had a tough time adjusting to life in a village initially, it is her students who keep her motivated she says.
“Whenever I step into a classroom and the students come running up to me, I no longer feel frustrated or sick, and I feel like giving my best,” she says.
Her co-teaching Fellow Bikash Deshar agrees. “It is tough to live with bare minimum when you are used to the comforts of the city but the children make it worth it.”