Visiting the home of the Himalayas with sky-high expectations, a Dubai Cares team accompanied by a crew from Sama Dubai TV visited Nepal to check on the progress of Dubai Cares’ libraries which were established in 2009. The libraries are stocked with local-language children’s books, donated English-language books, games and furniture to create a child-friendly learning environment. This program aims to increase literacy among children, positively impacting the quality of education for primary school students.
Nepal, located in South Asia, is one of the least developed countries in the world, with almost a quarter of its population living below the poverty line. Access to education is one of Nepal’s pressing challenges. In 2007, only 61.6% of Nepalese students completed a cycle of primary education according to Millennium Development Goals Indicators.
According to Amal Al Redha, Fundraising Specialist at Dubai Cares: “Upon arriving at the schools, we were very pleased to see that despite the conclusion of the program in 2011, the libraries were still very well maintained and running with great support from the teachers and the community.”
The program in Nepal is a testament of the contribution received from the UAE community during the Million Book Challenge, which is a campaign launched by Dubai Cares in 2008, inviting school children aged 3-14 to participate in a nation-wide read-a-thon. The goal was to read one million books in two weeks. At the end of the campaign, 1,323,218 books were read by 141,425 students from 159 schools.
For each book a child read in Dubai, Dubai Cares purchased a new book written in local languages which were distributed to school children in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Zambia, South Africa and Sri Lanka, the Gaza Strip, and the United Arab Emirates in partnership with “Room to Read”. To ensure the program’s sustainability, libraries were constructed to house the books and teachers were trained in the administration of innovative pedagogic techniques.
Asma Malik, Programs Officer at Dubai Cares said: “The recent visit to Nepal reflects the team’s continued support for literacy and the importance of field visits to assess the progress of programs. To see the smiles and the positive response amongst these underprivileged children in these remote Nepali communities is both a reward and a thank you to all those Dubai Cares’ supporters who showed their true colors during the “One Million Book Challenge”.
Despite the great progress achieved by the program in Nepal, it is the simple joy of seeing a generation of young Nepali children gaining an education that truly makes such field visits worthwhile.