Empowering a Young Teacher through Education
Take a moment to consider Rima, a woman with five children of her own. She teaches 16 preschool-aged children in her rural village in Okhaldhunga, Nepal. With just a 10th grade education herself, and very little in the way of training or teaching materials, Rima shows up six mornings a week to provide basic instruction for some of the youngest residents of her village.
Rima was a new trainee in the first teacher training held by Partners in Sustainable Learning (PiSL) in partnership with Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN) in April 2013. Her shyness and lack of confidence was obvious, hiding her face behind her scarf when asked a question. She seemed embarrassed about her limited reading and writing skills. Yet, she showed up every day and tried her hardest to understand the new concepts and ideas being presented to her about quality early childhood education. On the last day of training, she proudly presented her certificate to her husband, a primary teacher in the village, and asked for her picture to be taken with Diann and the other new teachers.
Rima left the training with enthusiasm and excitement to begin teaching her students the songs, games and learning activities she had learned in the training. Unfortunately, she did not have a classroom to return to. Although her village had a small school, there was not a classroom for the early childhood children. Undaunted, she began teaching her students in a small porch in front of a neighbor’s house. Here, she struggled to keep the attention of her 16 students and make learning fun and engaging.
Rima’s village is in one of the poorest regions of Nepal. Far from tourist trails, and with no industry, it lacks roads, electricity and other modern conveniences. Families struggle to grow enough food to feed their families. But still, they understand that education provides an important key to success in life, and that even the youngest children deserve a chance to learn. With financial assistance from PiSL to the buy the building materials needed to construct a preschool classroom, Rima’s community committed to providing the knowledge and labor to get it done.
An elder donated a plot of precious land, and Rima, the shy teacher, organized the first day of community construction. Together, the men, women, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles built a preschool from the ground up. Rima was the force behind getting it completed. She also joined the new women’s empowerment committee and has become an outspoken member and contributor in her community. Right before the monsoon season started in June, Rima was teachingher 16 students in a brand new classroom with concrete floors, child-friendly furniture, and a secure, waterproof tin roof!
The empowerment that comes with education expresses itself in many ways. In the developed world,we understand that lifetime learning is necessary to adapt to the rapid rate of change in our world. In rural Nepal, empowerment came to a shy young woman during a modest teacher development that built her confidence and helped her realize that she could contribute to her community as an early childhood teacher. More young women are waiting for a chance to change their small communities. You can help us change the world, one young teacher at a time.
PiSLin local partnership with VIN will provide further training, teaching materials and coaching to the young teachers who were trained in 2013 and 2014. Learn how you can help to make small changes in big ways by visiting our website, click here
By Diann Grimm,
Partners in Sustainable Learning