Happy New Year 2069

Happy New Year 2069

Yes, it may be hard to believe, but it is New Year 2069 in Nepal on April 13, 2012.  The new year typically falls between April 13 and April 14 in Nepal and it is based on the official calendar of Nepal known as Bikram Sambat. It is believed that this calendar was widely used in Nepal since ancient times along with another popular calendar known as Nepal Sambat. The Vikram Era is widely believed by many as an era adopted by King Vikramayaditya in northern India after his victory and this calendar is also popular in Northern India.

The new year is an official holiday and is widely celebrated throughout the country with religious, cultural and social celebrations. The first month is believed to be a very auspicious month and in Nepal school year also begins on the first week of Baisakh (1st month of the Nepali Calendar).  Students begin their new class with a new set of course books, uniforms and their hearts filled with new ambitions. Sadly, this enjoyment does not belong to all as most young girls in the rural poor families of Nepal often miss out on starting school.

Many girls from the poorest villages, instead of being ready to attend high school fear that they will be offered as wives or just pulled out of school due to the financial burden on the family. On the other hand, boys of the same age do not face such situation because most parents want their sons to go to school even it poses a hardship to the family. The government of Nepal, along with national and international organizations, are working toward bridging the gap between genders and creating equal educational opportunity for all. However, age-old cultural beliefs and socio economic conditions cannot be transformed in a short time. It takes deliberate efforts by the concerned agencies and more importantly from all individuals.

We at Rukmini Foundation are taking a tiny step in helping vulnerable girls from poor economic condition to stay in school until they successfully pass the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination, which makes them eligible for opportunities they otherwise would not have. We believe that through education, these girls will empower themselves to be protected from exploitation and discrimination that is all too common in Nepali society and also encourage them to become productive members of society. This year, starting in mid-April, 10 girls from around the Pharping area will begin school with enthusiasm and hope knowing that they will be able to complete high school without fear of having to drop out of school due to economic hardship. They will have access to school as well as access to mentors who will guide them throughout their high school. Once they pass the SLC examination, many more opportunity will open for them.

These girls will always be grateful to our supporters for taking such an interest in helping them. Thank you so much on behalf of the Rukmini Girls for helping to bring so much hope for this coming new year.

Happy New Year 2069!

Laxmi Aryal

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