Schools offer meal to keep students around

- PRATAP BISTA, Makawanpur
Schools offer meal to keep students around

Oct 12, 2014-

Saru Chepang of Kangada VDC, a fourth grader at Rastriya Secondary School in Silinge, has a motive to attend classes regularly—free lunch. She had dropped out after passing the third grade two years ago as she found no time for school out of her busy work of searching for wild fruits and roots for sustenance.

Since the school came up with a novel idea to offer mid-day meal for students, Chameli Chepang of the Makawanpur village returned to school after a gap of three years.

Many Chepang families in villages do not have enough land to grow crops and live on wild fruits and roots. The farm yields in the Chepang-majority villages last hardly three months of the year. Most Chepangs struggle to feed their children even one square meal a day. Thus, the food offer has been a magnate for the school to attract children of poor families.

Officials said many Chepang children have been enrolled to schools that provide meal since the commencement of the academic session in April this year. The campaign has effectively checked school dropouts.

Other schools offering snacks include Janasewa Primary School at Kangada, Damrang Primary School at Kangada and Tikidhunge Primary School at Kangada.

Ekata Nepal for Sustainable Development, with help from another NGO Lisa Himalaya AV, introduced the programme for the schools. The lunch package includes porridge, beaten rice and curry, and cooked gram.

Besides ensuring 100 percent attendance, the provision has resulted in increased enrolment rate in the schools. For instance, the Rastriya Secondary School has got 505 students at present against 350 last year. Head Teacher Taranath Dawadi said the incentive has drawn children to school.

“Children were enrolled in school but they had to quit midway. Nowadays, they remain at school until the classes are over,” said Krishna Bahadur Tamang, a local. Impressed by the programme, lawmaker Rajaram Syangtan has pledged to ask the government for snacks for students in eight other VDCs in the district whose inhabitants are mostly Chepangs.

Published: 13-10-2014 08:45

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