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The UN estimates that 57 million school-age children are currently not in school and research shows progress towards universal enrolment is slowing. These out-of-school boys and girls are being denied their basic human right to access a quality education and without it their future opportunities are dramatically limited.
In remote communities like the Everest region of Nepal, children as young as 11 carry heavy loads for days at a time and have no chance of receiving the benefits of a basic education. In response to this need, our flagship Teacher Training and Quality Education program, operating in one of the poorest regions of rural Nepal, helps ensure that all children have access to primary education.
This far reaching program extends educational opportunities beyond the well resourced upper region in the vicinity of Mt Everest and focuses on the impoverished districts of the lower Solukhumbu (Everest) that are in dire need of educational support. The key challenge facing education in rural districts of Nepal is not building more schools but improving the quality of the education delivered, so children are equipped with the kind of education that changes lives.
This 15-year program aims to help over 42,000 children and 1700 teachers in over 300 schools. We are deeply proud of the difference made so far including the training of 1050 teachers in over 200 schools resulting in:
As part of our TTQE program, we also provide community based education assistance for children in the greatest need of educational support. There are many families living away from the major tourist trails that cannot afford to send their children to school. Additional expenses such as school uniforms, lunches and text books make school out of reach for many of these families however through this program we are helping to bridge the gap with a priority focus on girls, disabled children and dalit (untouchable) boys.
Educational materials are also an important component of the AHF Quality Education program and critical to its long-term success. For many of these schools in this remote region, books are a rare luxury and stationery is often unheard of. The AHF is supporting these schools with a regular supply of necessary basics including pens, paper, writing books and textbooks.
The AHF is supporting girls’ education in rural areas through community based education assistance and also vocational training for women with a focus on income generation and supporting livelihoods in local communities.
In Nepal the AHF is providing support specifically to increase the capacity of young girls to become trained workers, providing them with employable skills and the opportunity to be leaders within their communities. This scholarship program will include a 12-month mentoring opportunity, creating long-term livelihood opportunities and economic independence.
Her Majesty, Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, is the patron and founder of RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) an organisation dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls in Bhutan. AHF partners with RENEW in Bhutan, recognising that investing in the education of women and girls is fundamental to creating strong, stable families, communities and countries. Working with RENEW, we are committed to building a flagship gender for women and girls in Bhutan.
In the remotest corners of rural Bhutan, we ae working to deliver a girls’ education program where children often walk up to 3 hours a day just to reach the nearest community primary school. These children are from isolated communities that experience extreme poverty and girls in particular are often affected. This support provides school meals, uniforms, textbooks and the building of girls boarding facilities. The funding of these resources ensures that just as many girls attend school as boys.
Complementing this project is our Vocational Training program providing technical training opportunities for young women. This project focuses on skills development and income generation for underprivileged women who endure economic hardship and have no social support in their communities. Women are being trained in the creation of traditional Bhutanese textile production, enterprise development and economic management.
In the lower Solukhumbu region we support maternal health care and service delivery for pregnant women, mothers and newborn babies, otherwise cut off from basic healthcare. The project covers both antenatal and post natal care and involves funding and training two dedicated maternal heath care nurses for the region.
Zanskar is one of the most remote regions in the entire Himalaya. It is a region of Ladakh in the Indian Himalaya and during winter the heavy snows cut it off from the outside world for over six months of the year. During this time medical facilities are non-existent and the region has unacceptable rates of infant mortality, often as high as one in two children. Our aim is to decrease these tragic rates of infant mortality and assist with improving maternal healthcare in the region.
We do this by funding annual workshops to provide primary health care training to the amchi – traditional medical healers of the region - aimed at improving existing health care practices as well as enhancing them with modern health care techniques.
The response to this training by the female amchi has been particularly encouraging, with many undertaking further training in the government hospital in Leh, as well as monitoring prenatal visits births in their own villages, educating new mothers and passing on their knowledge to other community members.
There may be as few as 3500 snow leopards left in the world and many of these are found across the Himalaya. Humans are largely responsible for the Snow Leopard decline - poachers hunt them for their pelts, body parts are used for traditional medicines and the leopards often come into conflict with local farmers. The AHF is working closely with the Snow Leopard Conservancy to protect the endangered snow leopard through partnerships with local communities in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The SLC supports community-based protection of these big cats through grass-roots conservation initiatives, environmental education, training of herders in wildlife monitoring and research blending traditional knowledge and modern science.
Conservation and education activities are designed in consultation with local communities, building foundations for locally driven wildlife conservation. Through this partnership, we provide basic training in improved animal husbandry, farm corral construction and other livelihood skills to eliminate the threat of poaching and unnecessary killing of snow leopards.