An invitation into the world of stories
A reading campaign has been running in schools in the Karnali and Sudurpaschim provinces, geared at nurturing a love of reading among children, and engaging families and communities in learning recovery
Nan Kali hasn’t been to school a day in her life. However, the 60-year-old from Bheriganga Municipality in Surkhet District in western Nepal is determined that her grandchildren get all the opportunities to learn that she never did.
She was recently seen accompanying granddaughter Roshani to a ‘Reading Mela’ held at the Sharada Secondary School in Bheriganga Municipality in Surkhet District in western Nepal.
“I might not understand what’s written in the books, but it makes me so happy to see that she does,” Nan Kali says of eight-year-old Roshani.
The Reading Mela, organized by the Bheriganga Municipality, is part of an overall reading campaign that has been running at the school for the past month or so.
The campaign is led by the municipality together with the Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD), with support from an EU-UNICEF initiative to strengthen the Government of Nepal’s COVID-19 education response, in partnership with Educational Pages, Mercy Corps and NSET and other local partners.
The Mela is one of the activities included the reading campaign – so far held in 100 schools in Karnali and Sudurpaschim Provinces – part of a range of efforts to promote a culture of reading among young children.
The campaign also seeks to involve families and the wider community in children’s learning, and accelerate recovery from the extensive learning loss caused by COVID-19.
Running for a period of 45 days in each school, the campaign caters to children in grades 1 to 3, through the setting up of book corners in schools, mobile libraries in the community, and various events such as Reading Melas and competitions.
Under the campaign, teachers are also being provided resources to foster better storytelling and reading activities, with community-level awareness efforts also in place to more actively engage caregivers in bolstering children’s learning.
This includes provision of handy new portable bookcases, useful in setting up effective reading spaces for children in schools and communities. So far, 300 such bookcases have been provided to the schools.
For Nan Kali, being part of the festivities at the Mela has made for an inspiring time.
“It’s been such a good day seeing everyone gathered to read and learn… it makes me think I should go to school too!” Nan Kali says with a laugh.