Education Support for Girls in Dharan
Partner | Nepal Loreto Shiksha Sadan (Loreto Development Centre)
Location | Dharan, Nepal
Education is a basic human right that works to raise all people out of poverty. However, in Nepal, the realisation of this right for girls can be an overwhelming challenge. Gender expectations related to domestic and care responsibilities and social bias towards boys’ education can mean that many girls end their education journey before their teenage years.
The Loreto Development Centre, a multi-purpose outreach base in Dharan, addresses this inequality by providing 40 girls from three vulnerable communities with a safe and secure place to live while continuing their studies at the local government school.
Without access to the centre, it would not be possible for the students to continue their education beyond primary school.
The Loreto Sisters have a long history of working in Dharan, beginning with the establishment of the Loreto Development Centre in 1996 to facilitate the education of women and children and promote community development in the region. Activities undertaken at the centre include vocational training and programs addressing health and nutrition, rights awareness, women’s empowerment and human trafficking prevention.
This project seeks to support girls’ education from three districts, regarded as slum areas and largely home to migrants from the Nepali Hill districts. The community is marginalised with minimal access to rights due to internal displacement and low income from limited employment opportunities. Women and girls from this area are further disadvantaged due to a culture of gender inequality.
Education for girls is not a priority for many families in Nepal, and child marriage is often seen as an alternative to educating daughters. Furthermore, limited access to awareness programs can make these girls fall victim to human trafficking.
The project works to break the cycle of poverty by providing girls and young women with access to quality education and further training opportunities. By staying in school, these young women will also be less likely to fall victim to human trafficking or child marriage.
Importantly, the Loreto Development Centre provides a place of social inclusion for the students as well as an opportunity to experience personal freedom and a sense of self-determination.
Living at the Loreto Development Centre provides students a safe and socially-inclusive place to live while studying at the local school.
While living at the centre, students receive:
- nutritional meals, with much of the produce sourced from the centre’s fledgling kitchen garden. This also allows the students to learn how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
- tutoring in English, mathematics, computing and science from professional teachers at the centre.
- training in local crafting techniques and dancing, not only giving the students insight into their culture but also providing them with future income opportunities.