Education Support to Orphan and Vulnerable Children

An orphan is defined as ‘a child who lost one or both parents because of death or other adverse circumstances and is under the age of 18 years.’ Statistical data projects states there are roughly 11.5 million children in Nepal. Out of this, about one million are orphans due to reasons such as death of parents, sickness, poverty, re-marriage, and difficult living conditions. A vulnerable child is defined as ‘a child who needs immediate care and protection from various circumstances”. These could be things like disabilities or learning difficulties, the environment of neglect or abuse, prejudice due to belonging to an indigenous minority, etc. Very tender children are dying in Nepal uncared for and neglected – they are forced to live in the streets, engage in child labor, and are displaced.

We recognize that the rights of these children – rights to safety, education, and food amongst other things – may be under threat due to increasing poverty, erroneous parenting and insufficient mechanisms to ensure a stable livelihood. Our main focus out of all these concerns is education, we aim to provide stable access to education for them as it is one of the major challenges faced by households. In some cases, children who fall under orphan or vulnerable students’ categories are turned away from schools as they are unable to provide nominal fees, buy uniforms or stationery. This perpetuates the cycle of growing illiteracy, low education provision, and a high dropout rate.

Children can become vulnerable at any time and for any length of time due to a number of circumstances. As a result, they may be unable to cope with the economic demands of simply caring for themselves, not to mention the emotional and psychological needs associated with their situation. In such cases, a school is often the only safe and supportive environment on which they can depend. It is, therefore, imperative that a school is a place where these children can receive the educational and psychological support they require.

MAMI’s work in supporting the orphan and vulnerable children:

  • Identifying the most vulnerable and orphan children in the community, and facilitating prompt follow up home visits when children miss the school.

  • Collaborate with the local bodies to support school feeding programs to address the nutritional needs of children, school enrolment and retention.

  • Support children with educational materials and school uniforms

  • Health care facility if needed.

  • Psychological counseling and reassurance to the orphan children.

  • Sponsor a child in long run

  • Make sure that orphans and vulnerable children have access to knowledge, life skills, services and a safe and supportive environment.

Improving Physical and Mental Health

Physical and mental health are interrelated. Both are critical for overall well-being of an individual. It is discovered that poor physical health can significantly increase the risk of poor mental health and vice versa. 

According to WHO, the recommended levels of physical activity for children aged 5-17 include competitive sports, recreational activities, planned exercise periods in school, house and community. In order to improve the cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, bone health, cardiovascular and metabolic health biomarkers:

  • Children and youth aged 5-17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.

  • The amount of physical activity greater than 60 minutes provides additional health benefits.

  • Most of the daily physical activity should be aerobic. Vigorous-intensity activities should be incorporated including those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 times per week.

The physical health of children should be assessed regularly to identify any possible health risks. Along with this the mental health of students is also important, good mental health allows children to learn healthy social skills and encourages them to achieve key milestones. Children are extremely vulnerable to anxiety, behavior disorder, depression, mood disorders if their mental health is not looked after. Thus, schooling is vital for the development of a child, as the teacher plays a key role in identifying if the child is at risk of any physical or mental disorders.

MAMI key actions to improve physical and mental health:

  • Health screening programs at regular intervals to assess the certain aspects of physical health. General assessments include weight, body mass index (BMI), head to toe assessments

  • Support the school with basic first aid kit

  • Support the school with the sports materials and ensure the equal participation of all the students

  • Organize community sports program

  • Conduct awareness programs for mental health

  • Psychological counseling for the primary, secondary, higher secondary student.


Girls Education Program

Investment in girl’s education will determine the opportunities they will have in future. Educated and self-sufficient women are an integral part of a developing country like Nepal, they contribute towards the workforce that acts as the backbone of economic development. 

However, due to ancient practices of gender discrimination and cultural disdain women are deprived of some fundamental rights such as education. Girls who do attend school tend to have an irregular attendance pattern and a high dropout rate due to issues like child marriage, chaupadi tradition, and even mundane reasons like household chores. 

Furthermore, they face other issues like lack of access to sanitary gender-based toilets, no provision of sanitary goods, and gender-based violence. We want to get to the root of these issues, it is no easy task to tackle age-old cultural norms, however, we believe that providing access to education and a safe sanitary place for learning is the beginning of change. By equipping girls with education and qualifications we hope to elevate them and their standard of living in the future but also to tackle issues like child marriage rate, infant and maternal mortality, and in general aid Nepal’s economic growth. 

MAMIs key actions to improve girl’s education programs:

  • Create a girl child-friendly environment

  • Provision of separate toilets and also sanitary napkins during periods

  • Train the teacher to be gender aware

  • Flexible timetables for girls who involve themselves in household chores, vocational training for girls to enhance their livelihood.

Literacy and learning interventions

Education is not a privilege; it is a basic human right recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Children are viewed as the main beneficiaries of this right and our aim is to provide education to those for whom it is currently denied. 

Literacy is essential for the development of well-being and a strong sense of citizenship amongst children. Therefore, it is important to provide every child with the opportunity to gain knowledge, transferable skills, and the ability to become self-sufficient in the future. By elevating students, we will also uplift and produce a progressive nation. Yet despite the general awareness of the benefits education brings to children and economic growth, there is a persistent lack of access to the education system across the world. Many children in Nepal are not enrolled in schools, even more, tend to drop out early or engage in irregular attendance. The biggest obstacle faced by Nepal is to maintain a regular attendance rate, there is a high level of dropouts in young kids who generally leave school to earn an income to help sustain their family work or there are unexplained irregular attendance patterns in schools. 

Poverty is a deep-rooted and complex issue with around 31% of the population living under the poverty line in 2007. This is a major reason for the deprivation of education for many of the people in Nepal. A low-class family living under the poverty line, struggles to provide the required registration fees, appropriate stationery, books, uniforms, and other compulsory materials. Furthermore, they are unable to provide lunch money, meaning that many students attend school on an empty stomach. Due to this, many families make the difficult decision of enrolling their children into income-generating activities rather than schooling. 

Quality of education provided is another vital issue. Whilst assessing the quality of education we tend to look at the number of teachers appointed, their qualification and performance. We also look at how the children are performing through regular assessments and innovative ways of teaching.

However, in rural Nepal, they are facing some serious issues in providing these basic prerequisites for quality education – there is a real shortage in the supply of sufficiently trained teachers and classroom space. In some cases, 2 to 3 different classes are forced to sit together and study in the same room because of a lack of space and teachers. Therefore, MAMI’s main goal is recruiting qualified teachers and equipping them with modern teaching techniques that are engaging and effective. 

MAMI’s work in Enhancing Literacy

Nepal has been undertaking various literacy programs since 1956, however it has been unsuccessful in providing literacy education to all. The rate of literacy has significantly decreased due to non-enrolment and unprecedented dropout rates of disadvantaged children and girls in primary schools. In 2015, research conducted by Panthhe and McCutcheon concluded that the growth of literacy does not even correspond to the growth of the population in the country. The population growth rate is estimated at 2.25% per year, whereas the literacy rate grows only at the rate of 1% per year. 

MAMI’s primary purpose is to bridge this gap in the rural and most vulnerable communities of Nepal. The mission is to provide quality learning opportunities which will prepare children in their future endeavors. The argument we present is simple – educational attainment provides the opportunity for higher-income occupations which boost the individual’s standard of living and economic growth of the country. 

Key areas of our work include:

  • Appointing trained teachers who can handle the students’ behavior and provide them with the practical knowledge and help in the skills development.
  • Provide the teachers training program if needed
  • Support school with the stationery materials (i.e. notebooks, pencils, erasers, etc.) quarterly along with extra-curricular materials such as recreational activities/sports.
  • Providing access to the modern learning materials such as computers and implementing it in the learning process.
  • Maintain a safe and secure environment for the teaching-learning process.