Beth Stillings Cohen's picture

Beth Stillings Cohen

Teacher in Kaski, Nepal

You’ve made life-changing and long-lasting improvements a reality in Nepal

Thanks to your gifts, Belu’s now one of many confident, skilled and happy teachers here in Nepal.

April 5th, 2014

Well, after two of the most amazing years, I’m now writing to you from back in the UK, where I’m slowly but surely getting settled into my old – but now quite strange – way of living.

Before I tell you about what I did in my last few weeks in Nepal, I’d first like to say an absolutely huge thank you.

 

The poorest children are completing primary school

When I arrived, the Dalit children in Nepal represented only about 1% of the children who complete primary school. But today with your help, in my Kaski schools the Dalit children, even the very poorest, are coming back every day and every term.

It’s an amazing transformation and your gifts are giving these little boys and girls a chance in life they’d only ever dreamed of.

 

Teachers like Belu now have new skills

I can’t tell you enough just how fantastic your support’s been. You’ve helped me share skills that will stay in Nepal, where they can continue to bring about life-changing and long-lasting improvements.

This means that teachers like Belu are now developing their own lessons, inspiring the children, and keeping the poorest children coming to school every day.

So, on behalf of everyone here in Kaski, I’d like to say thank you so much for your kind, continued and generous support.

 

More children staying in school...

Classrooms are now full with students eager to learn.

By the time I said my goodbyes to everyone I had come to know so well, the classrooms were very different to how I first found them – once bleak rooms have transformed into warm, welcoming and bright spaces, where students are excited to go and learn.

I can’t tell you how happy it’s made me to see more poor children in the district going to school regularly. For them to escape what really is a cruel cycle of poverty and hunger, the education they’re now enjoying is the very best chance we can give them.

 

...and more poor children starting school too

The cultural changes in the schools here is astonishing, and I’m so pleased to tell you how it’s helping the most vulnerable children here. Girls and children from ‘Dalit’ families, like Kamala who you saw in my December update, are now being accepted into schools, and at last being treated as equals. 

Just look how happy you’ve made Kamala. Because of you, she now has realistic ambitions to be a nurse.

A fantastic change in the teachers

The wonderful teachers I worked with day in and day out – like Guyatri, Saraswati and Belu – are now far more confident and capable in their ability to give interesting and fun lessons, using all sorts of new teaching methods and resources which can be shared and used for years to come.

It was amazing for me to see teachers in schools across the district beginning to understand how important it is to talk to each other all the time, so that they can share resources and new ways of teaching.

Building relationships like this between schools is such an encouraging sign, because it’s a really important part of making changes last long in the future, and continually improving standards of teaching.

All of this really couldn’t have happened without you and your support. 

Teachers are now working together, sharing what they’ve learnt and making sure their teaching is the best it can be.

New volunteers to continue improving education

Despite all the improvements that you’ve helped make, there’s still so much more to be done, to keep improving education in Kaski and throughout Nepal.

One of the great things about the way VSO works is that it offers help to poor people for as long as they need it.

So, in my last few weeks in Nepal, I spent time training a group of new volunteers that arrived in the country to work on a big new project focusing on improving education for poor and vulnerable girls, like Kamala.

It’s great  to know that more volunteers are in Nepal, continuing to help improve education, and thank you for helping VSO to send them.

 

Your support's been fantastic

I will miss everything about my time in Nepal – the mountains, the valleys, the kindness that people continually showed to me and, most of all, your support and kind messages over the past few years – they kept me motivated and inspired to share my skills and improve people’s lives now, and in the future.

I know that your new volunteer, Mike, will be so grateful for your support too. He’s been in Rwanda for a few months now, doing amazing work training teachers and improving education in rural villages.

 

Improving education and changing lives in Rwanda

This weekend, here in the UK, we’ll be remembering the awful genocide in Rwanda. Improving education is such a massive part of rebuilding the country after the horrors of the past, so Mike’s blog is especially poignant.

Mike’s already seen great improvements in schools, with teachers teaching children in new and exciting ways. Here’s his blog so you can see yourself.

I know that Mike would love to hear from you at this time, so please do send him a message via his blog. 

Mike sent me this picture – he’s obviously a popular guy among the school children.

Thank you, and hope to meet you soon!

Once again, I’d like to thank you for all your wonderful support over the past few years. It’s been an amazing journey, and I hope you feel as proud as I do about the improvements we’ve been able to make alongside teachers in Nepal.

There’s still so much more to be done, in Nepal and around the world, and your support’s putting skilled VSO volunteers where they’re needed most.

This will be my last blog, but I do hope you’ll come to my Meet the Volunteer event in the summer. It’ll be great to meet you in person, and you can ask me all about my time in Nepal. I’ll be sure to send you an invite when I’ve confirmed the date.

All the best,

Beth

I hope you enjoy reading about the great work your volunteer is doing to improve the lives of some of the world's poorest and most marginalised people. They're able to make a difference, all because of your support. Thank you.

 

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