Malhanama a small village in the far eastern region of Nepal in Saptari, the heat greeted them, the bunch headed by Prabesh with eight hundred books, 1 football, two rackets, 12 feather corks, three ludo set and a heart full of energy to build a library for the less fortunate.
The Terai belt has been greeting its visitors with heat and those from Kathmandu and other much cooler part of Nepal have to get used to the warm-humid-intimate hugs. But they werenâ€™t here to get used to it, they were here to break their bust and toil in the sun to make some dreams materialize.
The plan sounds familiar enough, build a library for the less fortunate, â€œRoom to Readâ€ has been doing that for a while now, but due to government constraints reaching the root level being a problem, this school with government buildings had no library, though Terai is easily accessible by land. Why was this place so stricken by the negligence of the government and in most part of (International Non-Government Organization) INGOs?
Well the answer lies in the strange fact that as INGOâ€™s get bigger their reach to villages and more stricken part becomes rarer. The director of the Association of International NGO (AIN) said in her commencement speech in AIN meet last month in Radisson that they were sure they didnâ€™t reach the most affected, most needy. And the political situation keeps worsening day by day as income disparity increases and the country become more and more centralized.
So organizations such as this Youth Hands For Helpline (YHFH) isÂ a light of hope as it targets the real areas for development being natives to the woes.
After the busy dayâ€™s work of transporting and meeting the village elders and teachers of the school, the team of youth visionaries were able to find out what the school lacked.
The school boasting about three hundred students, including kindergarten students, but the number of teachers is only seven. Â The teachers teach all subjects from English to Math, from Science to Hygiene. The resources are dwindling, the only money to the school comes for the construction of new buildings and paying the teachers their salary, nothing for the studentsâ€™ welfare, nothing for a library, sports or culture.
The team was welcomed graciously by the locals, the smiles, the endless array of food, and village tours, packed all the experience of the village in one day, and at night the youthâ€™s on a mission could see the stars, billions of them in the sky without the pollution of big cities like Kathmandu where the only lights are airplanes.
The next day, one member, Basanta woke up early to take a six oâ€™clock class and taught them English and when he called out the roles he found less than fifty percent students present. Class four had only 3 students present and they were teaching themselves-the teacher was nowhere to be seen, the blackboard was broken on one side.
After the classes, the team assorted the books, according to the sections based on classes and language, and the eight hundred books became a jewel in the empty room bereft of any furniture, soon furniture were transported from another room unused for a while now, before long the room transformed into a library.
The students started peeking in the room and soon they came in and they were given a chance to familiarize themselves with the books and they were also given advice on how to use the books well, the headmaster as well as the young revolutionaries broke the boundaries of teacher-student relationship and engaged them to learn more, and apply the skill in their lives to build a better Nepal.
While at night, dinner was served and it was time to leave, the clouds were gathering to hide the stars, but the young patriots already pocketed the stars and the smiles and carried them in their hearts back to the city. A part of them still in the heated embrace of the Terai.
By:Â Sarker Shams Bin Sharif
The writer is a Honours Graduate in English from Rajshahi University and is currently working as an Editorial Intern at Glocalkhabar.com