Despite the fact that many schools in Nepal have been built or improved in recent years, libraries are seldom included as a top priority. Space is typically allocated for library facilities but, often times, neither books nor the shelving needed to store them are included in the project. Schools are typically on their own to secure funding to stock their own library. Books are in very short supply and those that are present are typically in poor condition. WWEP has funded the construction and stocking of two libraries in Nepali schools and has helped with smaller donations to others. Our aim is to provide children with books that are readily accessible, thus encouraging them all to read both for information and for sheer pleasure. Some libraries are filled a handful of books at a time and others receive many boxes at once, depending on the resources available to us and the storage options at the site.
Mitrata-Nepal Home for Children
Until recently, the children at the Mitrata-Nepal Home for Children, an orphanage in Kathmandu, had a very small library consisting of one small bookshelf in the administrative office. The children in the home love to read but they were limited by the paltry number of overused books within their reach. WWEP recently built the shelves for the new library facility in the orphanage shown here at left. We then purchased over 150 books to augment the books provided by other charity organizations. Maps and posters were purchased to fill the walls and make the room brighter and more informative. A local electronics retailer also donated a large television on which the children can watch educational programs after school.
WWEP continues to supply the Mitrata Nepal Home for Children with books as funding becomes available. Students at the home now enjoy books on a variety of subjects including fiction, reference, philosophy, general textbooks and children's stories. The orphanage has moved locations three times since WWEP began this program and the shelving has been moved and reassembled each time to allow the students free access to the books and materials.
Rural School Libraries
The small primary school located in the remote village of Mendo in northern Nepal never once had anything of a library. Students came to classes in the small building and were lucky to have access to blank sheets of paper for taking notes. During our 2015 renovation of the school building after the devastating earthquakes, the staff at Kids of Himalaya requested that we provide funding for a small library and simple shelving. Once the library shelving was finished, materials for the library would be purchased locally in Kathmandu and would then be driven a great distance into the mountains to reach the village. While it is often the case that school libraries are kept locked in a separate room for the security and preservation of the books, the staff at Kids of Himalaya requested that we allow the library to be fully accessible to all students at all times. Believing that students would be greatly encouraged to read if all of the obstacles were removed, the staff conceded that any loss or damage to the books would be far outweighed by the increased level of interest that free access would allow.
As of April 2016, this new library is open with fully stocked shelves of books in both Nepali and English.