struggles and Structures
Oberlin College provides its students the January off to partake in any individual or group project of their choosing. For my first winter term, I went to Sindupalchowk, Nepal to understand the difficulties people in remote communities had to go through after the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and the ways through which different organizations were trying to addressing those difficulties. I worked in a remote school, 2 hours away from the district headquarters and was assigned to take Math and English classes.
The destruction was apparent as soon as I arrived. Not a single house was standing in the villages. People were living in small tents or shacks, leaving the vulnerable to the elements. The radio would mention several people dying because of the cold. The condition was exacerbated by dried taps and wells. This was especially concerning because most of the villagers were farmers.
The state of schools were already bad. The earthquake had made it worse. I was assisting the teachers at Singamati Secondary School. Like the rest of the houses in that area, the school had collapsed and students were studying in temporary bamboo classrooms. However, the lower grade students were studying outside. This was especially concerning because it was really dusty.
The work done by organizations were very superficial. For example, an organization was distributing bags to incentivize kids to come back to school. The kids, on the other hand, only came back to school the day the bag was being distributed. These were programs looked good in paper but had no real effect.
Despite all of the difficulties, the students that were able to come to school were very enthusiastic about learning. I taught using the colored book I had gathered and my laptops. For the majority of the students, it was either their first time reading a colored book or their first time seeing a computer or both. The young girl who stayed with the family I was stayed with would even stay up all night using Khan Academy.
To know more about the struggles , I home tutored the students that had to walk for hours to come to school. This experience showed me the reality for these kids. They started working in the fields as soon as they came back home. Even weekends were spent working. Schools was also very discouraging since the teachers would discriminate according to cast. It was inspiring to see that despite all of theses struggles, they wanted to learn.