On Friday evening, I met twelve Saathi teachers. Coming from different corners of Nepal, the Saathi teachers are part of the Saathi Teachers Programme which is a two-year teaching placement for passionate, committed and empathetic individuals willing to transform classrooms in rural Nepal.
The Saathi teachers are currently navigating through the residential school, aptly titled Saathi School which runs till day twenty-one. The Saathi teachers receive training and learning as well as opportunities to meet, hear from and network with individuals from different disciplines. I was very honoured to have received this invitation by the Saathi and Helambu Education and Livelihood Partnership Programme team. During the hour-long session I informally spoke about my childhood years going to schools in Brunei and the UK.
Teachers like Lal Kumari guru aama in Brunei’s Gurkha Children English School saw students as friends. Often times, she seized opportunities to present learning in a different way. Sometimes we’d sit outside and learn or we’d be presented with practical items to jazz up the normal. If it had not been for teachers that listened, supported and created safe environments; I don’t think I would have been the person I am today. I definitely would not have been able to achieve academically.
The Saathi Teachers Programme is on a mission to change the foundation of education in classrooms in rural Nepal. What makes the programme unique is their focus on Grade 1 to 5. After the completion of the Saathi School residential programme, the Saathi teachers will be placed in community schools where they will teach English and Maths for two-years. The Saathi teachers will be placed in clusters for support; professionally and personally.
There is an important need to get education and schooling right from the very beginning. In many places, we’re failing to make learning accessible, fun and something that adds value in the lives of young people and their families. Getting this right in rural classrooms means a big task of working with the existing school system, communities and those that live there and of course, the decision makers that govern the region.
I wish the Saathi teachers all the best as they slowly near the end of their residential programme and start a new transformational chapter. There are many moments in life that stick with us even when we are young and I am positive that the Saathi teachers will have the same powerful impact on many students they teach over the next two years.