Volunteering in Langtang
I meet Harikrishna Devkota in Kathmandu one afternoon to make arrangements for my community volunteering in rural Nepal, the Langtang district. A few days later we take a 5 hour bus ride and a one hour walk up the mountain slope before we arrive to his family home in Jibjibe village. I should better say - family shelter, as his home was destroyed by the earthquake last year, along with most of the other houses in the area.
Through his organization Hari sponsors school education of 137 poorest children of the district. I have to say, local kids are truly motivated to study and are very hardworking! Some of them have to trek up or down the mountain slope for a few hours to get to school every morning. The importance of access to the education can not be stressed enough when you find out that the illiteracy rate within the local community amounts to 85%, growing even higher in the remote areas. By educating the children there is a hope to break the poverty cycle families find themselves in. There are 3 schools in Jibjibe but that is still not enough to teach all the kids in the area.
Hari is building a new school 5 km away from Jibjibe, where a school building was destroyed by the earthquake and its pupils are occupying a temporary corrugated iron structure that looks more like a warehouse than a school. The school will be finished by 2017, it will be an earthquake resistant building able to provide education for a few hundred students.
Hari's story :
Hari's parents, wife, 3 kids, 2 buffaloes and 5 goats live all together in Jibjibe, while he works in Kathmandu and returns to the village every few weeks. The kids wake up around 5am, help out around the house and the farm, finish the homework and trek 20 minutes downhill to get to school 6 days a week. Most of the work on the farm is done by Hari's wife and cooking is mainly the responsibility of Hari's mother.