Field Report by: Niroj Shrestha

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein himself clearly understood the importance of libraries. These essential social institutions help readers not only develop their critical thinking and analysis skills, but also provide them with an outlet for their curiosity on a wide variety of topics. However, students in rural areas miss out on the potential for growth and learning that libraries offer, since they are usually several miles from the nearest one. With the intent to resolve this issue, our great friends and partners, LitWorld and Global G.L.O.W, two US-based non-profits and Rukmini Foundation collaborated to build a new library.

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The new LitLibrary provides a peaceful environment for students to read to their heart’s content. LitClub members (bottom left) enjoy reading new books while sitting together.

LitWorld’s primary mission has been to foster literacy and educational development in developing countries, and, to this end, has been establishing LitClubs for young children (especially girls) worldwide. In Nepal, with the help of Rukmini Foundation, LitClubs have now been established in Shikharapur Community School, Setidevi Secondary School, Niharika, and Bhaktapur School.  LitClub Shikharapur became an ideal choice to build the library around because another massive effort to rebuild the school after it was damaged by the earthquakes in 2015 was already underway. Through a strong collaboration with LitWorld and Global G.L.O.W., as well as local partnerships in Nepal with Shikharapur Community Campus, and Shikharapur Community Learning Center, it is great to see this library come alive for LitClub members and community members alike. We are very grateful to Global G.L.O.W. and LitWorld for their generous support and to the community that came together to make this a reality even with all of the challenges the country is now facing.

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Community members come to explore the books in the LitLibrary (Top left), Delegates of LitClub America enjoy looking through the books available at the new Library (Top and Bottom right).

After months of effort, this library’s construction was finally completed and set for its grand opening. In the coming years, it will not only benefit the students of Shikharapur School, but also LitClub members from other campuses, alternative schooling students at Shikharapur CLC, elderly mothers from Sheshnarayan Women’s School, and generally all the community members as it is designed as a community library. The library is located in a very peaceful and delightful room of the new school building. Students can read in silence while enjoying the wonderful views from the library windows, stimulating not only their minds but their spirits and happiness as well. It is designed to be student-friendly, with comfortable desks and chairs, and bright decorations.

Shashi sir reading the inauguration plate

Sir Shashi Sharma reads the LitClub Library inauguration Plate with great joy.

Over 1500 books fill the shelves of this library! A Shikharapur student can conceivably learn about an enormous variety of topics, ranging from literature and the arts to history and social topics, the latter of which can also be found in the national daily newspapers and magazines the library subscribes to. The purpose of this literary diversity is to provide readers with a holistic education.

Event details:

The opening ceremony of the LitWorld Library was held on January 19th, 2016. Jennifer Estrade, Director of Her Story Initiative and representative of LitWorld/Global GLOW, was one of the Chief guests present at the inauguration. She exchanged her ideas and thoughts about the importance of LitClubs in Nepal, the activities that were carried out and the impact of programs in lives of members. Jennifer also talked about the positive changes evident in LitClub members’ attitude, confidence, and leadership skills. 

Opening of LitLibrary by Jennifer

Jennifer Estrada ( Director of Her Story Initiative and representative of LitWorld/Global G.L.O.W) cuts the ribbon  to open the doors to the library with great excitement.

The inauguration program was chaired by Dr. Ram Krishna Maharjan, Chairperson of Shikharapur Community College. Chief Guest Hon. Member of Parliament Rajendra Kumar KC inaugurated the library with the opening of the inauguration plate, and Jennifer Estrada opened the library’s doors with the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon. Special guests Guru Girvana Nath Aryal (Son of Rukmini) , Mr. Basu Dev Aryal (Grandson of Rukmini), leaders of various political parties and principals of different schools joined the ceremony, along with more than 150 community members, students, LitClub members, their parents, and Rukmini Scholars.
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Speeches are given during the inauguration by Program Manager Niroj Shreshta (left), Prariti Nepal and Jennier Estrada (top right) and  Member of Parliament Rajendra Kumar KC (Bottom right)

During the program, all the guests praised the team members for the work they have put in for the establishment of this library, and also agreed upon the importance of this effort in helping to create a better learning environment for students. The team also promised that they will fully utilize the library and help the readers to grow. After all, libraries are the future of reading. 

Scholars enjoying the program

Rukmini Scholars  enjoy the inauguration program.

 

About Priti Bhattarai

With a Masters from London School of Economics in NGOs and Development, along with courses in Social Policy and Gender and Development, Priti brings with her the experience of both policy and development. She was born in Nepal, brought up in Japan, and has lived in England for eight years. Before moving to the United States, she went back to Nepal and worked on issues concerning Education for All and Gender Equality. Her work entailed creating awareness amongst the communities in rural Nepal on issues concerning both health and education, whilst striving for change in the country’s education policy. She recently moved to the Untied States and has become part of the Rukmini Foundation. With her previous experience working in Nepal, she has a great understanding of Rukmini Foundation’s mission and vision and will chair the Nepal Team Committee to work closely with our team on the ground to ensure progress, productivity and help forge new relationship with other entities in Nepal.

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