Scholarship Award Ceremony 2017

“Empowering Girls through Education.” is our motto, and the Rukmini Foundation has been promoting girls’ education in the Southern Region of Kathmandu District for more than 6 years. This year,  we are challenging ourselves by reaching out to more remote places where access to education for girls is even more challenging than the current areas we support. In these areas, high rates of poverty, high rates of child marriage, and chronic gender discrimination are some of the key issues.

Traveling dangerous “roads” like these to get to school are just some of the challenges that girls from these villages face.

As we showed through some pictures, life is very difficult in villages like Chhaimale and others that are part of an adjoining District called, Makwanpur. Knowing the difficulties within these villages, and with a desire to help the girls of these communities, Rukmini Foundation decided to add 6 more scholars to our family this year. The new scholars will attend the local schools in there area, Panchakanya School, Bhandarkharka and Shree Krishna Secondary School, Chhaimale.  

Sabina Didi speaking with new scholar, Pramila Waiba.

After our field survey and interviews were over, and we identified 6 scholars to join the program, we organized our annual Scholarship Award Ceremony. What makes this ceremony and our program unique is that unlike the traditional concept of an educational aid / scholarship, Rukmini Foundation has established a culture of empowerment through education and has made clear within these communities the educational rights of a girl child. We look to dignify their hopes and never make them feel as recipients of a gift. We support for them in a way that never makes them feel that they are being given something.

New Scholars and current Scholars taking part in the Scholarship ceremony

For this ceremony, we were honored to have Ms. Sharada Jnawali, a Cornell University Graduate and a Humphrey Fellow, as Chief Guest. Ms. Jnawali is currently working as a consultant and Treasurer of Nepal Association of Humphrey Fellows. As a female leader who is continuously working to support women’s education and rights, she was a big inspiration for all students, teachers and parents. Her success in national and international development agencies is proof that girls and women can make a big difference in the world, and all of the Scholars were inspired by this idea.

Ms. Jnawali awarding Scholarship to Pramila Waiba

Around a 100 participants gathered to attend the program, and I was proud to give the welcome speech, which provided a background of the organization and its programs. I also shared some of our success stories. I also spoke about the foundation’s inspiration, Rukmini and talked about her as a revolutionary woman who has been always an inspiration within the Aryal family and how her inspiration led to the work, which is helping many girls in the community.

As the main activity of the event, Chief Guest Ms. Jnawali distributed Award Certificates to the new scholars. She wished the new scholars and their parents well, and she asked the parents to create a good learning environment in the households. During her inspirational speech, she expressed her own story of struggle for education because she was a girl. She explained her parent’s dilemma of supporting her education at a time when sending a girl to school wasn’t common. She made us all smile when she shared that, by coincidence, her grandmother’s name was also Rukmini and she was also her inspiration for her education.  She then thanked Rukmini Foundation for our focus on a holistic development of a girl child through quality education, mentoring, and health & wellness. She stressed the same kind of approach when she advises other organizations and communities, so she was very happy to see this already in action in our community.  Her words, her advice and her presence inspired not only our scholars, but all of the participants.

Ms. Jnawali sharing her story and inspiring the audience.

At the end of the event, our Senior Program Officer, Ms. Usha Aryal thanked our Chief Guest as well as all of our other guest and attendees. Once the formal part of the event was over; our scholars, students of Shikharapur Community School, participants of Kalaa Program, and some guest artists from Rising Star Music Group helped us to organize a short cultural program. Our Kalaa Progam Coordinator, Mr. Indra Balami helped the scholars and students to perform national songs, while Shikharapur School students performed a nice cultural dance. A guest artist from the Rising Star Group performed a live musical show to entertain the participants.

I would like to thank the entire Nepal Team for all of their hard work in making this event a great success. We would also like to thank all of the supporters worldwide who make all of this possible. Supporting the education of girls, ensuring their rights, eliminating child marriage, and empowering them to be future leaders is what Rukmini Foundation is all about, and this event was a great symbol of all of those things.

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