Meeting up with some of our sponsored children has brought up many issues for me.While it was heartening to see that all the children have improved on their previous year's exam results,I can't help feeling that,for many of them, finishing their year 10 ( the fifth form) will be the furthest they will go .
Uma and I talked about parental interests and encouragement, the key in children achieving their gaols in life. Research have shown that children do achieve a lot more and in turn fulfill their potential if parental encouragement and interests are present.
For many of our sponsored children from Neel Barahi School, their parents are unskilled and in most cases casual labourers. They are too preoccupied with earning a crust on a day tò day basis.They are too exhausted to think of the big picture , let alone their daughters ongoing education. It is a double whammy when a female child is born into thhe family.This is particularly so in the Nepalese culture. From time to time, Uma had to step in to remind them of their parental responsibilities, to take good care of their daughters
The fact that many of the children have to work before and after school is a real problem.One of our children, a 16 year old girl who braves the cold and gets up @4.30 each morning to go to the retail vegetable market. She would pick up the dregs and the cast offs and sell them by the road side before and after school. Words reached Uma that the poor girl has been touched and teased by the market traders. Father is too insensitive to act. Uma then had a word with him. Now he sends his 12 year old daughter instead .Uma and I despaired at the hopelessness of the situation.
With no evidence of parental interests and encouragement, we could not see how the 2 sisters whom KIKN sponsor will be able to go on to higher education.The girls will be expected to work to bring home some money after they have finished their year 10 class. Or worse still, be married off with no say in the matter! This scenario is played out across the board. Uma and I can identify the girls who are at risk from our sponsorship program
Is there anything KIKN can do? No, absolutely nothing! It is with the hope that they will marry well. And that they valued the little opportunities that they have glimpsed through KIKN 's push for their education. And that they will become enlightened parents who will support the next generation for better education. Who knows, they may prove Uma and I wrong. We fervently hope they do!