Per UNESCO, International Literacy Day has been celebrated worldwide since 1967 to raise awareness of the importance of literacy to the public. Even today, many people worldwide lack basic literacy, most of whom are women. The theme of International Literacy Day (ILD) 2022 is “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces’, calling for action to all to promote and provide literacy to as many people as possible regardless of their age, gender, or social or economic status. This theme resonates with us because the Rukmini Foundation has been working in a rural area outside Kathmandu supporting girls’ education and promoting literacy programs. The programs include Mom’s Clubs and Open School, a school for dropouts where they can continue education informally and appear at the national level examination. The primary goal of Open School is similar to getting a GED in the US. Every year we participate in ILD with various awareness programs to promote literacy. This year, we celebrated extraordinarily.

This year ILD was celebrated with various activities in one of our partner Schools – Pharping Secondary School. Six Glow Clubs from our partner schools conducted the program promoting the importance of education for all through speech, poems, drama, and songs and dances. The program was created by them and their mentors and performed for an audience of around 100 people, including Club members, mentors, Rukmini staff, and the students of Pharping Secondary School.

All the club members prepared speeches, poems, and drama about the importance of literacy and literacy campaigns. They demonstrated their talents and performed confidently. The theme of all activities was the significance of education for all for personal and social development, unity among cultures, and spreading literacy awareness movement in society.

Pharping G.L.O.W. Club started the program by singing the National anthem, followed by a dance performance, poem recitation, and a speech on the importance of literacy. All the performances were excellent; the speeches and the poems contained powerful messages on the importance of education for women and how it can transform lives by developing ability and awareness.

Shikharapur G.L.O.W. Club presented a dance with multi-ethnicity dresses to show unity among different cultures. Safalta Nepali presented a short but powerful poem about educating all women in the world who must take responsibility for the development of their country. For that, every single woman must get a chance for quality education.

She also delivered a compelling speech on education, literacy, and lifelong learning. She described “education” as the third eye of a person. As two eyes help us see the outside world, the third helps us understand life. Arunodaya G.L.O.W.Club performed a Tamang Selo dance with a message that all ethnicities must be literate to function well in the modern world and preserve their culture. Kalidevi G.L.O.W. Club performed a Tamang Selo dance. In addition,  Namrata Tamang recited a poem titled “Start a movement,” which contained messages such as “Literacy is our right,” education is a powerful tool to build a nation. It gives us the power to fight against injustices in society. Tribhuvan G.L.O.W. Club presented their speech on literacy Day and the importance of girls’ education in the society that helps spread education, saying, “one girl can educate her family.” They performed a cultural dance representing different ethnicities with a patriotic song.

Talku G.L.O.W. Club performed a drama showing the discrimination between a son and a daughter in a family who do not realize the importance of educating their daughter as she is going away to her husband’s house after getting married. Such notions still exist in our society. Her friend goes to school and understands the value of education. She helps her friend, who is deprived of education by her mother, assists her in studying in an open school where she can get an education. Thus, the girl secretly keeps learning, still doing her household work, cutting grass for her cows and goats. In contrast, the son is provided with everything he wants. The drama shows other problems like drug addiction, not seeking proper treatment for health problems, and relying on witch doctors.

The purpose of the drama is to highlight the old beliefs and practices in society on the one hand and how an educated girl can bring awareness to the community and take action against social injustices and taboos on the other.

We are thrilled to see our students being able to deliver powerful messages to the audience on the importance of education. They learned the significance of International Literacy day and showed us how to celebrate. We believe this program gave the club members more confidence and motivated them to get involved in extracurricular activities. This event exemplifies the power of education and the impact of mentoring and extracurricular activities. A huge thank you to the mentors and members of Glow Clubs!

Comments from the audience 

Sadhikshya Khatri-Arunodaya G.L.O.W. Club: “The program was enjoyable and memorable. Through this program I understand the importance of education. I never heard about literacy day but today I know about it and how we celebrate this important day.”

Safalta Nepali- Shikharapur G.L.O.W. Club: “The program increased our confidence to speak in the mass because of our mentor’s guidance and motivation.”

We wanted the Clubs to celebrate together in one place, presenting their activities. As they performed in front of other teams and the audience, they worked hard to improve their performance. I am confident that they can show their talents if given space. Usha Adhikari

I am happy with the performances of our G.L.O.W. Clubs. The program was delightful to watch. Apsara Adhikari

About Laxmi Aryal

Laxmi was the first female in her family to receive an education. While the education she received was limited, she was able to make the best of it and became the first person from her family and village to complete high school, undergraduate studies and eventually a Masters degree. She eventually earned a Masters Degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Public Policy. Hers is an inspirational story that the Rukmini Foundation hopes to replicate. She serves as an inspiration for the foundation and its leadership.
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