HOW IT ALL STARTED In February 2002 the Swiss Andrea Werder took initiation to teach the children from very impoverished backgrounds. At the beginning children were given their first lessons outdoors while sitting on the ground at Boudha, Kathmandu. Soon afterwards two small rooms were rented and about 30 children were able to attend the school for half days. This is how ‘Hamro Sunshine School’ had been born!
The children all come from the poorest of circumstances. They often live with six or seven others in a small room without flowing water. Frequently the father lives either not at all or only occasionally with the family. Heavy alcohol consumption is a widespread problem. Most of the older pupils previously attended the state school for one or two years, but had to leave the school because the parents were not able to pay the school fees. Before a child is admitted to the school, the teachers first clarify the respective situation of the potential pupil’s family situation. 2002]
An old carpet factory was rented in March 2003, which was subsequently renovated and converted into a school with the help of the teachers and children. In the following years the building would be sold. Fortunately a piece of land in the immediate vicinity could be acquired for a good price. A large-scale funding campaign in Switzerland was organized in securing the necessary funding to proceed with the construction of a brand new school building. The school building is now in operation, to the delight of all those involved. It offers more space, and brighter and larger classrooms.
THE PRESENT SITUATION About 205 children from the ages of 5 to 17 are taught by 25 local teachers (some of them are former pupils). Dibesh Khatree is the Principal of the school. Hamro Sunshine School is officially recognized as a institutional school. Mathematics, English, Nepali and the general sciences are the main subjects taught. Additionally, value is placed in encouraging the arts (Taekwondo, Drawing, painting, singing, and dancing, Meditation). The language of instruction, except for the very youngest, is English. At midday all the pupils receive a warm meal: Daal-Bhat, the national dish of Nepal. In 2012 the costly tenth-grade class could be instructed for the first time. This last step means that Hamro Sunshine School can now provide the full range of schooling necessary to acquire the Secondary Education Examination (SEE). The children go to school with a sense of joy and pride. They often stay longer at school to play or do homework. The older among them have realized that they have received a unique chance to break out of the cycle of poverty with the help of their school education. They are therefore highly motivated and hard working.
THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IN NEPAL: There are both private and state-owned schools in Nepal. The state schools are indeed cheaper, but the classes frequently have 50 or more pupils and the teachers are lacking proper training. They raise money from the children in different titles by passing the government rule. Only children from affluent families can attend the private schools. Those who have too little or no money are simply unable to attend school. The illiteracy rate in Nepal is 67.9%(in 2018).