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Neetu Pokharel (Nepal) YWB Member of the Month

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Neetu started her project titled ‘Transforming the Lives of Conflict Affected Children and Young People – A Scholarship Initiative’  in 2011. The project aims to support the children who had been severely affected by armed conflict in Nepal, by focusing on their education and ensuring them accommodations. The area of the project is a school named ‘St. John School’ in Bhaktpur district where two children named Sapana BC and Jhalakman BC (15-13 years old) were struggling for their future.

The 10-year-long violent conflict in Nepal has caused tremendous suffering, including physical and human loss, of which women and children are found to suffer the most during and in the aftermath of the conflict. The children, who are studying in a school of Bhaktapur, and their experiences are a sad example of it. During the war in Nepal, the parents of these three children have been killed after a forceful abduction from their home in 2002. These children had experienced violence then no other and are from Rukum district, a remote area of Midwestern Region of Nepal. They came to Kathmandu searching for security and education but found them without any support.

NeetuPokharelHaving been able to study free of cost until 2011, the school’s owner was not able to support them anymore. For this reason they were in danger to lose their place in the school’s home, as well as their education opportunity. The consequences would be severe as these children’s future depends on their educational opportunities. As a reason of urgency, Neetu aimed    to establish a scholarship program that secures their education and residence, and which would then be extended to reach more children that find themselves in similar situations of distress. Moreover, She planned to identify such type of conflict affected children and youth to bring them together as a part of this project. This project was laid out to continue at least for five years until these children could successfully complete the school and are able to sustain themselves.

To provide them the educational support, Neetu tried a lot for seeking the scholarship opportunities for them. Finally she got success in connecting these children to a non profit making organization; Balkshetra Nepal (BKN) which runs the home (shelter) for orphan children. After lots of effort on speaking about the need of these children, BKN agreed to pay the tuition fee for the children to the school. The children got relieved after hearing this news. Then from 2012 to the date of today, the students have been receiving scholarship opportunities. Thus under this project , Sapana BC and Jhalakman BC have been provided scholarship opportunity  from Class 8 and Class 7 to the date of today.  

Progress

The project has completed its two year and now running in its third year. During the period Neetu engaged frequently with these two children in providing them proper guidance, making them in visiting the city, providing stationeries and other basic necessity things. She treated them as their own parents. Not only with two children, Neetu also tried to intermingle them with other students and played with them as well. She also frequently engaged with the school teachers and administration to know about the performance of the children. The performance of these two children has been mentioned below:

Sapana B.C.  : Sapana has become 16 years old now. She passed her School leaving Certificate (SLC) with 74.625%, which is known as an iron gate of the students in Nepal. She also performed very well in class 9 and 10 in both academically and extra activities. She has been awarded in many games and competition i.e badminton, debate and speech competitions.  The teachers say that she is very decent in study and discipline both. She never gave any chance to the teachers to complain about her performance.  
After passing SLC, the scholarship with BKN terminated.  She was highly interested in studying medical field but it was very hard to find the scholarship for her 11+2 studies. Neetu along with Sapana tried in many colleges seeking the scholarship opportunities for her.  She appeared in some entrance exams in some colleges and scored a highest percentage in Holy vision Technical College at Kathmandu.  Then based on the merit, she got selected for the scholarship for a year in July, 2013 Shrawan. Now, she has been studying Health Assistant (HA) Course in Holy Vision College at Kathmandu.  This course is for two years. Sapana has been performing well in her class however no formal examination has been held yet in her class.   

The current challenges with Sapana are that if she is not able to obtain the highest position in her first year, she would be deprived of getting scholarship in the second year. Finding other supporters at the immediate time would be a tough work and any delay in supporting her might obstruct her study which could lead her to the frustriaon. However, let’s hope and wish that she will perform best in her first year class and it would help her to get scholarship in the second year.  
Sapana aims to serve her community and the people of her country in health field after graduating her study.

Jhalak BC: Jhalak is now studying in class 10 in........School. He is the first boy of his class since class 7. He is also active in other extra activities/ games like volley ball, football and chess. Jhalk had an accident and got his right leg fractured while he was playing in ground in school before one and half a year. Neetu requested BKN for the treatment and they made it all. After the injury of his leg, he has stopped playing football and volley ball but continuing other indoor games. The teachers and his friends say that Jhalak there is no other competeters of Jhalak in class and he has never been complained of not doing his homework, class work and other activities of the school. Her mother is really lucky of having such a good child.

The challenge would surround Jhalak after he passes S.L.C. as BKN will not be supporting him after grade 10 class. Neetu is trying to seek the scholarship for his further study is well.

Neetu is in contact with the elder brother of Sapana and Jhalak. He is very thankful to Neetu she could help his two siblings for building their future. If there was not support at the time of their need, now they would be in their village with household work. Now, at least they have been enjoying their right to education. 

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