Province No. 3

Child care centre for Chepangs in Makwanpur

- PRATAP BISTA, MAKWANPUR

Mar 12, 2019-

In what can be called a positive wave of change, Chepang people in remote settlements of Makwanpur are growing more aware on the importance of educating their children—something that was rare until a few years ago.

Local residents are slowly coming to the realisation that illiteracy and lack of education have contributed to their plight. These days, they are even calling for setting up schools and child care centres in their villages.

Sher Bahadur Chepang, a resident of Kharkhandetar in Raksirang-6, Makawanpur, recently donated his two katthas of land for building a child care centre. The 49-year-old, who never learnt to read or write, says he wants to see not only his children and grandchildren but all the children in the village get an education.

Sher Bahadur decided to donate the land nine months ago after Ekata Nepal, a non-governmental organisation, came up with a proposal to build a child care centre in his village.

“Most of the children in the village were not enrolled in school because the school was very far.

They would pass their day by fishing, shepherding or accompanying their parents to forests to bring wild fruits,” said Anil Poudel, coordinator of the NGO. “We were looking for a land plot to build a child care centre, and that’s when Sher Bahadur came forward and offered us his land.”

The child care centre, built at the cost of Rs 1.68 million, has one classroom, one kitchen and two toilets. The centre was handed over to the community on Friday amid a ceremony where Sher Bahadur was felicitated.

Of the 22 Chepang children attending the centre, 10 are girls. The centre has hired a teacher, who is paid by Ekata Nepal.

“The children are very excited about the new centre,” said Sinha Lal Chepang, the ward chairperson. “The nearest school is around a two-hour walk from here, but with the construction of the centre in our own village, children won’t hesitate to attend classes.”

According to Sinha Lal, the child care centre is also providing mid-day meal, which is a major attraction for children to attend classes.

Published: 12-03-2019 08:57

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