Rukmini Foundation’s motto is empowerment through education, but as we are expanding our programs to more remote areas, we are beginning to see that providing education is not always easy. After we conducted several home visits and school visits to some of the more remote areas, we are seeing that many students have to walk long distances, sometimes up to 2 or 3 hours to reach school. Often, many of these students are going to school without food, so by the time they reach school, they are already tired and hungry. This lack of food and energy makes them unable to concentrate, and sometimes some of them have even fainted in the class. We have seen malnutrition as a big issue for many children in these areas, as they do not get to eat good food and get the required amount of calories. Along with our motto though, we also provide mentoring and health and wellness programs, so we feel that there is a big need to provide food as well as nutrition education as part of our program so that the kids can be healthy enough to concentrate in school. We believe that if we are not able to fill their bellies, we cannot hope to fill their minds.
Promote & Highlight Local Women Leaders
Our 2nd resolution is to promote & highlight local woman leaders making a positive impact. An example is Ms. Rammaya Tamang who runs her own agriculture based business after completing high school after having to drop out early. This year, we want to share more stories like hers and inspire future women leaders.
Place an Emphasis on Empowering Mothers to Empower Their Children
Our 3rd resolution is to put an emphasis on empowering mothers so that they can empower their children, especially their daughters. We will do this through our Moms Club programming and by doing more community outreach of moms, aunts and female elders.
Foster A Culture of Reading
Our 4th resolution is to foster a culture of reading and a love for books. Kids in Nepal tend to only read textbooks for homework and to study for exams. However, we believe that they should pick up a book to read for fun as well. Our World Read Aloud Day program is always a hit, but we know that we need to keep an emphasis on reading. We will look to increase the utilization of libraries and to get people of all ages to pick up more books this year.
Be More Open in Discussing Mental Health Issues & Challenges
Our 5th resolution is to be more open in discussing mental health issues and challenges within our schools, families and communities. We want to break down the stigma of mental health issues and to provide more counseling support for our scholars and students so that they can be both healthy of body and mind.
Identify, Develop and Support Mentors
Our 6th resolution is to identify, develop and support mentors within the villages and communities where we work. Each village and community has its own set of challenges as well as opportunities. We need people from that community to help us address the challenges and take advantage of those opportunities. We are excited to see girls like, Roshani, who has developed as a Scholar and is awaiting her exam results to find out if she will be a Graduate as well. She wants to develop her leadership skills and to help younger girls from her community. We are so proud of her, and we know that there are other girls who want to do the same.
Establish A Culture of Community Service
Our 7th and final resolution for Year 7 of the foundation is to establish a culture of community service for our scholars, mentors and the greater community. We know that we have the capacity of addressing many of our community’s challenges, but we need to work together to do so. We are excited to have inspirational figures like Ritu Didi to help us in mobilizing our scholars to do community service projects. We believe that community service is a part of education and integral to empowerment.