No “distinguished” chief guest, no garland offered to guests, no decorated stage and no singing and dancing to please the audience. A different, but very significant, event took place on April 18, 2012 at the “A School for Community (ASC)” Seminar Hall. It was the inaugural scholarship award ceremony for the Rukmini Foundation.
The people who were present at this important event were: The scholars and their guardians, devoted social workers, teachers and principal of Sikharapur school, chairperson and few key staff of ASC, and all personnel involved with Rukmini Foundation in Nepal. Altogether, there were nearly 40 people who took part in this ceremony.
The event began by the introduction and mission statement of the Rukmini Foundation, which was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the parents of scholars. The MOU is a symbolic contract which requires the parents to keep their girls in school until the completion of the program and binds the Rukmini Foundation to support them financially throughout this program. As the signing of the MOU began, a father of one of the scholars was not able to sign it as he was illiterate and could not read the contents of the MOU. His daughter, Pooja helped him understand the contents and he was finally able to sign it. He told the crowd that at this very moment he realized the power of literacy. He went on to say “I hope my daughter becomes more educated in the future so I do not have to worry about anything.”
“At this very moment, I realize the power of literacy”
– Father of one of the Rukmini Scholars
The awarding of the scholarship along with a new uniform and textbooks took place after the signing of the MOU. These materials were handed out one by one by the Regional Director of Rukmini Foundation. A small note about the uniforms that were handed out is that instead of contracting a large manufacturer for the uniforms, which would have been cheaper, we ordered the uniforms from a local business run by a female tailor. This fit into our idea of women empowerment and community development perfectly.
After receiving a certificate, uniform and textbooks, one of the scholars, Dikshya, spoke a few words on the behalf of all of the scholars. She expressed her sincere appreciation towards the foundation and to the community leaders who were working hard to give the girls a chance at a better life. According to her, without the very generous help from the donors of Rukmini Foundation, receiving a higher education would not have been possible. This similar view was shared by Gauri (a mother of another scholar) who represented all of the parents. Gauri added that there always will be parent’s support to realize the dreams of their daughters and that they will always cooperate with the Rukmini Foundation to help support the empowerment of their daughters.
Kedar Nath Acharya, chairperson of ASC and Selection Committee Head of the foundation, advised the girls to utilize this opportunity wisely in order to make their future better. He also sought cooperation from parents and other community members to cooperate with Rukmini Foundation to implement various activities for the betterment of the society as well as the girls. The audience was then treated to a recital of a poem by Mr. Acharya, which was written by himself, to motivate the girls to realize their dreams and how this scholarship was the start.
After that inspirational speech and poem, Shyam Shrestha, the principal of Sikharapur School took center stage, where he spoke about the importance of receiving any kind of scholarship. He stressed that receiving a Rukmini Foundation scholarship is a matter of honor and pride, not a sign of being weak in terms of socioeconomic status in the society. Shyam stressed that providing scholarships is only one component of Rukmini Foundation’s activity. He added that in addition to exploring ways to deliver a meaningful and quality education, empowering all women in the Pharping region are other important missions of the foundation and education institutions in the area.
The closing remarks of the ceremony were delivered by Rukmini Foundation’s Regional Director, Shashi Sharma. He highlighted the inspirations behind the Rukmini Foundation and also recalled the struggle by many women of the Pharping region in their goal of obtaining a formal education. He closed the ceremony by thanking the generous donors in Nepal and abroad, the devoted social workers, the parents of the Rukmini scholars and all Rukmini Foundation personnel for making this very special day possible.
A picture session followed the closing of ceremony and a few group pictures of the participants were taken. Refreshment followed the picture session, however only a few had enough time to enjoy it. This was not because it was too warm for hot tea, but rather because of a lack of time. Our scholars had to hurry to their classes with new textbooks in their hands, and most of the parents rushed to their respective homes to resume their daily work. Ceremony over, and now the hard work begins.
It was truly a very special day, we at the Rukmini Foundation would like to thank you, our donors, supporters and well wishers for your support. We all know this is just a beginning, and there is much work to be done. But, oh what a beginning!
PS – See more pictures of this event on our Facebook album.
Rukmini Foundation Inaugural Scholarship Award Ceremony
Date: April 18, 2012
Time: 11:00 A.M NPT
Venue: A School for Community (ASC) Seminar Hall
- Opening Remarks by Program Manager (Nabin Aryal)
- Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by parents/guardians
- Certificate, uniform and textbooks handover
- Thank you speech by a representative of scholar (Diksha Thapa)
- Thank you speech by a representative of guardians (Gauri Mankranti)
- Encouragement speech by the principal of Sikharapur (Shyam Shrestha)
- Encouragement speech by the selecting committee head (Kedar Nath Acharya)
- Closing remarks by the regional director (Shashi Sharma)
- Photo session
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