Promoting Inclusive Education

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A new batch of ENGAGE Corps involved with Learning with Fun has been inducted and all of them are currently undertaking the preparatory capacity building component before the start of one long year service in the field of inclusive education.

Learning with Fun is a small pilot project now in its second edition that attempts to enhance the social emotional learning of children with learning and developmental disabilities.

With social emotional learning we refer to key components of a process of personal growth that help a child to deal properly and effectively with their emotions and relationships with others.

While subjects based learning, traditionally imparted through classroom based activities remains essential for children with all types of disabilities, often neglected of their rights to quality and inclusive education, there is also a strong case for the promotion of their social emotional learning.

Extra curriculum activities, if properly planned and designed, can also play a different role.

The six ENGAGE Corps, all social work students from St. Xavier College, are determined to play a small role in creating a model service program to support children that are neglected and marginalized by coming up with a set of activities that will be imparted for two days a week full time.

From reading and reflecting on a story tale to creative arts classes to sports and physical activities, Learning with Fun will try to promote the social wellbeing of the targeted group through a specifically designed curriculum focused on fun but purposeful activities.

Here a short presentation of the new ENGAGE Corps, young but very professional and serious at their upcoming responsibilities:

Bipana Adhikari, 19, loves animals and nature and dreams of becoming an environmentalist, working at the intersections of environment conservation and human development;

Sabina Ghale, 18, loves adventures and sports and is a good athlete especially she is a good football player and dreams of serving in the military as psychologist or counselor;

Shruti Shakya, 22, a Chinese language teacher, is passionate about travelling and exploring new places and wants to work in the field of public health, specifically mental health and overall human welfare;

Nitika Shrestha, 19, a book lover, wants to travel around the world and envision herself working in the field of environment and conservation while also cares deeply about emotional problems faced by people;

Rikka Marsani, 23, a professional kumari dancer, loves reading and wants to explore herself so she can get lots of exposure and imagine herself as public health worker and a promoter of local heritage;

Ankita Joshi, 18, is studying traditional dance since grade II, strives to have a career working for the welfare of children in Nepal but also in other countries where kids deserve better opportunities;

The dreams and aspirations of our new six ENGAGE Corps can be regarded as an example of what youth are doing to turn the country into a more just and inclusive nation and their families and friends should be very proud of them.

Imagine if more youths like Rikka, Sabina, Nitika, Bipana, Shruti, Ankita could join the cause of inclusive education and give their best efforts to bring little but significant changes in the lives of many “invisible” children.

Imagine if social work colleges around the country would strategically focus on certain key areas of high social impact, devoting their best energies and efforts and talents (both students and teachers) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The fact that a big issue like inclusive education is strongly linked to gender empowerment, poverty and inequality reduction and overall sustainable communities makes a strong case for an intersectional approach.

Imagine if the endeavors of all social work students in their practicum experiences could be fully acknowledged and recognized and awarded. Surely more youth would be more determined and motivated in carrying out social work, both formally through a college but also informally, as a way of living alongside their jobs.

Surely we should not hold for granted all the contributions youths are making for the country.

Being involved in social issues goes often unrecognized and belittled and this is unfair and unacceptable.

It is true that power of volunteer alone is not enough.

It is also true that professionalism and expertise of social workers is going to be wasted if there is no a proper system approach that helps improving people lives in real rather than just in the formats of project proposal and related reports.

We need systematic change that involves the Government at federal, provincial and local levels and many other stakeholders but recognizing and building on the efforts of our six ENGAGE Corps and thousands of volunteers and budding social workers would be a stepping stone not only for a truly inclusive education system but for a far more just and fair Nepal.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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