BARA: Children living in the forest settlement of Mathiyani Tole — currently included under Jitpur Simara Sub-Metropolitan City-17 of Bara district — are studying in a school without even the basic infrastructure.
As per the permit given by the District Education Office (DEO), Bara in 2066 BS, a school was opened in the Sahajnath Sajhedari Forest Area of the Charkoshe Jhadi. However, it was opened only for namesake because the condition under which the children are studying there is very rough.
Shree Nepal Dalit Primary School does not even have a building to start with. The children of the marginalised community of squatters living in the forest area go to the school made of thatched roof and straw. The place does not shield the children from weather conditions, nor does it properly accommodate students belonging to four different classes, who all sit under the same roof to study.
The students are doing without basic facilities. There are neither desks nor chairs for them to study on. They bring sacks from their homes to sit on the classroom floor. They do not even have slates to write on.
70 students up to class four – out of which 40 to 45 students come to the school regularly – sit under the same roof to study where there is shortage of teaching staff as well.
The school came into existence with the initiative of the squatters who had started living in the forest area. The DEO did give them the permission to open the school, but after that did not carry out follow-up activities to properly establish or operate the school, leaving it completely to the means of the community.
It is difficult for the children to go elsewhere to study. There aren’t any schools nearby. They have to travel through the forests with the risk of wild animals. Apart from this, there is also the danger of the river flooding during monsoon season.
Rahul Paswan, who studies in the second grade in the school, shared his dream of becoming a doctor. Like Rahul, many other children of the school have big dreams. Even the parents want their children to have proper education and bright future. But lack of conducive environment to study puts a big question mark in these dreams, due to which many young children of the community go to do manual work.
In a situation where the settlement of the Mathiyani village itself is not stable, it is further difficult to expect the permanency and improvement in the situation of the school.
Laxmi Chaudhary of Karaiyamai Rural Municipality-1 has however been seriously involved in trying educate these children to shape their future. Chaudhary, who has studied up to grade 10, is presently running the school as the in-charge, along with a helper Kalpatiya Devi Ram.