Date: 2009 ongoing

Partner: Vinayak Shiksha Niketan (VSN) English Secondary School & Creative Learning Academy (CLA) School in Thimi, Seabird International (Higher Secondary) college in Thimi, Prisoners Assistance (PA) Nepal, Shree Pasang Chowk School, Tawal

Objectives: To improve employment opportunities for young Nepali students involved in three NAFA supported projects: Prisoners Assistance Nepal (PA Nepal); Tawal School and VSN/CLA Schools and Seabird college (Thimi); and for young people with disabilities supported by JOY Foundation Nepal.

Details: The FEAT program focuses on students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 who are approaching or recently have attained their School Leaving Certificate (at the end of Grade 10 in Nepal); students with a disability; and other young people who have reached their educational potential and are seeking vocational training opportunities to increase their chances of finding their first job. Each situation is considered on its merits. FEAT students commit to doing volunteer work in their community to give back to the wider community and share the benefits of their higher education or vocational training.

Keshari is an example of a VSN graduate student who is benefitting from the FEAT progam. Keshari comes from a subsistence farming family. She made good use of support received from NAFA’s educational sponsorship program, gaining Distinction in the Grade 10 public SLC exam (2006) and graduating with Distinction at the end of Grade 12.

In 2009 Keshari enrolled in the Bachelor of Nursing course at Kathmandu University, after her parents obtained a loan from relatives to pay her admission and first term tuition fees. Now, thanks to the generosity of 5 donors and with a contribution from her parents, the costs of Keshari’s nursing studies are guaranteed for the duration of the course. Keshari has expressed in her own words the heartfelt appreciation she feels about the support her sponsors provide:

“Every student brews in her, the desire to graduate, the desire to acquire higher degrees and the desire to become something that counts, after her study. But because she is “SHE” and she is from uneducated and poor family, all her desires cannot always be fulfilled and in such condition like the streak of light in the pitch darkness; like an oasis in the desert, the support, that NAFA sends for students, works… And now I’m doing bachelor. How very difficult it had been for me and my parents to meet all the fees and expenses of the university. NAFA sponsor again saved me by supporting my study economically. I therefore extend my sincere gratitude and felicitation towards the school and NAFA for arranging this support. It always encourage me to further my education as limelight and inspire to work for the community” (Keshari 24th Feb, 2010).

Ashok training at UCEP Technical College

Outcomes: There are 16 students currently (September 2011) being supported through the FEAT program. Two young people have completed their training.

In 2010 Ashok from Tawal village successfully completed an electrical wiring course at UCEP in Kathmandu and Ashok returned to Tawal where he has set up a small electrical appliance and repair shop. Ashok will be trained to maintain the micro-hydro electricity plant being installed at Tawal. He has successfully wired 200 village houses to receive electricity. Ashok worked diligently to pass his course at UCEP as shown in the supervisor’s report: “According to them (teachers) they are very happy to have Mr. Ashok in their centre and Mr. Ashok is doing his best on the training. Mr. Ashok performance is very good among the students. They are findng him as hard worker and gentleman”.

In 2010 Gopal from Tawal completed a gem cutting course in Kathmandu. He is currently exploring setting up a gem cutting and selling business in Dhading, the nearest large town to Tawal.