By Ashish Karki
on 5 February 2018

Getting in to the UWS Nepal Teaching Fellowship has been one of my biggest achievement so far. As I sit down to write this story and look back, I cannot be more thankful for a wonderful beginning to my professional career. During this short period, I have overcome a lot of challenges and gained increased subject knowledge through trainings and experience. UWS Nepal Teaching Fellowship is making increased positive impact, not only in my life but also in the lives of several thousand students and their communities. One of the several thousand stories is Archana B.K, a girl that I feel has been truly impacted.

Archana, from Heluwabesi village, was born into a poor low caste family. Growing up, as a child born in her conditions, she has forever been deprived of proper care and attention, both from her parents and local schools. Every morning she wakes up and helps her parents in the house and in the farm, leaving less time for reading and homework, thus leading to sporadic school attendance. Despite the school’s existence near Archana’s house, her irregular attendance resulted in bad grades, less friends and increased risk of dropping-out. There were times Archana would rushed to the school directly from the fields in empty stomach. I decided to understand the roots of Archana’s problems and learn more about her condition.

First, in a school meeting, I called her parents and had a chat about Archana. In the one-on-one meeting with the parents we talked about hygiene, irregular attendance, timely travel to the school and the importance of education. At first it was difficult to convince them to that education was the only way out of poverty, but by the end of the meeting, the parents agreed to provide increased time for Archana’s schooling. Furthermore, to ensure commitment from the school, I convinced all the teachers in the school to give special attention to Archana.

The journey to help Archana started. We paired her with student that had good grades. As time progressed, her parents started sending her regularly to school and her reading and writing improved. As a result of the commitments from the parents and the school, she now has new friends and an improved bonding with both her colleagues and her teachers. Her parents have improved Archana’s health and sanitation. She now comes to school neat and tidy with all her home-works and reading completed prior to her class. Seeing her drastic improvement, I am now encouraging her to participate in extracurricular activities and talk about her dreams. She says, she wants to become a nurse someday.

Seeing Archana change, through application of techniques that I learned during my training prior to the start of the fellowship and the trainings provided last month on Early Childhood Development, I am understanding that little steps can do wonders. Archana is just one of 150 examples I am working with here in Heluwabesi.