We started to conduct various programs with an aim to helping and encouraging more children to go to school. But while working in the villages for the children, we came to find other problems as well. Feeling the necessity of women education, we started to run women literacy classes in different places and all this brought a very positive impact in the rural lives.
The poem from a SADFUN literacy primer, below, reflects this shift in attitude:
A son goes to school,
A daughter collects fodder,
The division of work has been the same
Since the day we were born.
Educating daughters is not a waste of money;
With education, they would serve the country.
The United Nations talks of equal liberty;
Sons and daughters are part of the same family.
Take pity on girls born in a country like Nepal;
Nepal cannot progress without education for all.
A son gets pen and paper,
Daughter gets a bamboo basket;
Oh! My parents,
The lives of your daughters are being wasted!
Oh dear parents,
I'll serve you both if you send me to school,
And give me enough to eat
Like my brother.
Now, we are requesting the youths of different parts of the world to come to Nepal and work as a volunteer in the village schools, which will help the students learn better English, understand new ideas, among others.
Further, we request you to help in our endeavor and assist in the way you can. Your help may bring a great change in the life of the children who would otherwise spend no better life than their parents and their forefathers did. Our programs are funded primarily by the generosity of individual donors like you. We invite you to share in our celebration of the spirit and strength of the Nepali people. Contributions to a specific program are considered to be contributions to our total mission; when particular projects are fully funded, additional donations will be used where needed most. Sponsorship of children in private schools in Kathmandu, sponsorship of women's groups, sponsorship of children in village schools, and an integrated rural development program incorporating literacy, women's development, and sustainable agriculture in two rural districts northwest of Kathmandu provides scholarships for over 20 girls at two rural primary schools. Traditionally, girls have dropped out of school in order to work or take care of younger siblings. Thanks to SADFUN's efforts, the dropout rate for girls in our program area has significantly declined. We distribute school supplies and uniforms for children whose families cannot afford them. SADFUN supports public and private school education for 110 orphaned, homeless and poor children in Kathmandu. Helps communities' build and staff kindergartens. This program is one of our greatest successes with high commendations from the Nepali government. It funds a Teacher's Training Center, one of the first in the Kingdom of Nepal!
Wake up, oh! Sisters,
This is not the time to sleep
A single hand cannot clap, you say.
Women in the city are all educated today,
While the rural women are left behind, I say!
The country will not be prosperous
Unless the women are educated.
A single hand cannot clap, I say!
Wake up sisters! Be ready to do something!
You'll get nothing just by sitting.
You must fight against social injustice.
If the sisters are united,
Everything can we gain.
We now need property rights, or,
Our efforts will be in vain.
[By a SADFUN women's literacy program participant]
Raising women's status through literacy and income-generation training is the most significant factor in improving children's health and nutrition levels. Literacy and basic math and bookkeeping skills give women confidence to engage in economic activity and participate in community affairs; women who are educated are better advocates for their own needs and for their children's.
Girls who attend secondary school give birth later in their lives and have fewer and healthier babies. In Nepal, because of the rapidly increasing population pressure on limited land, reduction of family size is crucial. These girls' families are also less likely to live in poverty.
SADFUN supports the efforts of Nepali women to better their lives through:
Each year since 1997, thousands of people in SADFUN's program areas gather on May 8 to celebrate International Women's Day. Newly literate women stream down from the hills to give speeches and read poems they have written to demand property rights, equality and a better future for their daughters. In the early years of the celebration, SADFUN played a significant role in organizing the event. Since 2000, however, local women involved in SADFUN-sponsored women's groups have taken organization of the occasion into their own hands, a clear indication of the celebration's empowering significance for them.
Nepal is one of only two countries in the world where life expectancy is lower for women than for men, a reflection of their particularly low status. The struggle of Nepal's women to achieve equality and justice is an inspiration to women everywhere, and a message to let these courageous women know that they are not alone and are greatly appreciated.
"Faith, hope and optimism are wishes from far away friends. Open up your hearts and believe in yourself and make your dreams a reality."
"Women everywhere are proud of your efforts in literacy and the education of your children."
"Greetings to the women of Nepal! Let us work for a beautiful world where love will win the day!"
"I congratulate you on making a difference for your family."
"I celebrate and march with you in my heart."
"Keep up your struggles. Other women are thinking about you and support you. We are with you in spirit."
"Although I had many different experiences in the schools and on the streets, the most important part of being in Nepal was being there as a resident, not a tourist."
"I'd like to thank SADFUN for getting me to Nepal, helping me to feel comfortable there, and trusting me to do a good job."
"I loved teaching, I loved the children, and I made a lot of friends within the school and without."
[These are the comments made by the women of different villages who participated our literacy programs and became literates.]
Each year, SADFUN is able to offer a limited number of volunteer placements in Nepal. Our current needs are for professional teachers with training and experience in pre-primary education and/or English as a Second Language. Volunteers work with teachers in our Village School program or in public schools where SADFUN is seeking to improve teacher training, primarily by assisting Nepali teachers and modeling alternative pedagogies.
Volunteers are requested to commit to at least three months, and preference is given to applicants with previous overseas experience. Volunteers pay for their own room and board; costs vary, depending on which type of accommodation is desired. SADFUN highly recommends, but does not require, a home stay with a Nepali family, which costs approximately $30 US per week. SADFUN requests a $100 US placement fee for volunteers to offset required orientation costs as we receive no funding for making these placements. This fee can be waived if the organization determines the contribution of the person is substantial enough in terms of skills and time to warrant such a waiver.
Those interested in volunteering are requested to submit a resume. We will send you detailed information about the volunteer scheme and a guide book about Nepal. The guide book costs $15 US ($20 US for orders outside of the U.S.A.), including postage. It can be ordered through e-mail and you will be informed about the way to send money for the payment.