It is not the size of a school that matters! | Milaap

It is not the size of a school that matters!

I have been to several tiny schools over years of travelling all around the mighty Himalayas. This piece is not about how small this Bhindeshwori Primary School was, it is about what makes it a school in its true sense. Bhindeshwori School is located in a small village in Lamgunj, Nepal. When I say small, it has just 5 households and that’s all. But this school has all the amenities that a child would want. A big lawn to play around, loving teachers and cheerful laughter of friends!
This school was initiated under the effort of a few Germans who got there and became a part of this village forever. However, its continuance was ensured by the joint efforts of a handful of well-established members of the village and donations from all around the world. Bindeshwori school has a total of 24 students who all belong to the same or nearby villages. The range of standards is from Lower KG to Class 3. If you can close your eyes and imagine little children walking and running down early in the morning, it is almost like fawns hopping from one stone to another.

 Bindeshwori School, Lamzung, Nepal

In total there are five teachers, a principal, and 1 working staff. Ambika Magar, the Class teacher of 1st standards caught my eye as she sat outside in the lawn with her 3 students and concentrated on how they pronounce the words from their English book, properly. I marched down to the children and they were not shy at all. They flaunted whatever English they knew, mixing it with Nepali and tits and bits of Hindi. Ambika was raised in a Children’s Home and thereby she got the opportunity to teach in this school while she is pursuing her higher studies in Education.

Ambika with her students

Since my Day 1, I have seen many developmental activities that have fallen onto this temple of knowledge. Unite Nepal, an organization run by a Philanthropist Lee Williams, commenced a mid-day meal scheme for all the children in this school. What a wonderful day it was because I was not just one of the visitors but one of the initiators of the meal plan. The glow in the eyes of the children when they tasted their first meal at school is a moment that will remain embedded in my mind for years to come. When you get to satisfy such a basic need as hunger, you realize how much it means to a growing lad. These kids often walk for miles to come and learn in this school. They deserve to get something extra than the realm of education. The Principal took to his claim when he was approached for help by us and without a doubt, he said he would love to see his kids well fed.

Unite Nepal, team, and teachers of Bindeshwori School

The children tasting their first meal at school

We decided that on a rotational basis the parents of one or two children will do the cooking. They too can enjoy the meal the day they are the chef(s). All the equipment like monthly ration for food, gas stove, rice cooker, dry spices are provided to them every month. Soon this school will have a new toilet for proper sanitary habits of the children. On asking the kids about this new construction to happen, they said they want to help in colouring the toilet.

Kids request me to take their help while the toilet gets painted

Another attempt that was taken by a few volunteers and myself was that of painting all the swings, see-saws, sliders of the school. Brightly painted playground having everlasting smiles fiddling on them is a pleasure to the eye. Mind you, the kids never play alone; they have to have their best teachers to guide them at every minute of the day. Guidance that is not imposed but asked for!

The teachers of this school always keep the needs of the students prior to theirs. I know this because they lack chairs for the teachers in the classrooms and even teaching materials. Never have they complained about it when asked several times. “ Let our kids be happy, we are habituated to teach under any circumstance”, says Ambika.

Painting the playground materials for kids

A true backbone for a school- Principal

After coming from one of the biggest schools in my State, as I look at these tiny blocks of rooms I feel that whoever goes out from here and accomplishes the educational circle is bound to be a good human even if not earning in thousands. The generosity of the teachers must be reflecting on their descendants at some point or the other.

The youngest of the lot- Lower KG