Community-based Learning Classes During Lockdown

Alisha Budha, Grade 8

Shree Khoriya Basic School

Ward No. 2, Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality

Myagdi District

Before the pandemic hit, everything was going normally in Alisha Budha’s life. An eighth-grader at a public school, she attended classes daily. Teachers know her as a laborious and active student who keenly participates in extra-curricular activities. At home, she finds time to help her parents do chores. She also guides her younger brother in his studies.

As the nationwide lockdown progressed, life as we know came to a grinding halt. Alisha along with her family had to stay indoors. They had plenty of time but not much to do. She and her siblings spent many weeks away from school and academics took a back seat in their lives. They had heard about virtual classes but their rural school did not have such a facility.

In the second week of August 2020, GNI Nepal stepped in with ‘coaching classes’ for children of seven communities of Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality under a community learning center approach. Alisha and her siblings attended classes close to their home in a COVID-19 secure environment. Along with other students they continued their studies in a classroom-like setting.

Unlike regular classes, these classes were run in open spaces for two hours a day and six days a week maintaining physical distance and all participants wearing masks at all times. At the end of each day, students were encouraged to showcase their hidden talents like singing, dancing, reciting poetry, or drawing. Alisha had never given a dance performance in her life. Nevertheless, she decided to give it a go. And to her own surprise, she enthralled everybody present throughout her performance. Her parents were the happiest people in the audience as they saw how much good she was at this newly discovered talent.

Most of the parents of these communities were worried about their wards’ education. These supplementary educational sessions helped their young offspring feel and learn like at school. Parents were very supportive of their children and made sure that they did not miss these alternative classes.

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