Since the Covid-19 Pandemic sent Nepal into lockdown in March, 2020, children have been out of school. The new school year was set to begin in April, 2020, but they were never able to open due to lockdowns. This school year in Nepal is likely to be considered a "dead year" putting all of our children, at minimum, a full year behind in school. Many of our children did not enter the education system until 2017 and had spent much of their youth as child laborers. We worked tirelessly with the children, their teachers and their parents to rapidly accelerate their learning so that they would be able to rejoin their peers at an appropriate age level. Now, another full year out of school, we fear parents may not be willing to send their children back to school, and even for those who do rejoin, they will have lost an entire years worth of learning. To mitigate this, we are seeking to purchase tablets so that children can access distance learning materials from the HKC office on a regular basis. This will allow us to reintegrate the children into education and better prepare them for school reopenings when the schools systems eventually re-open.
While most of the children of Bhaktapur spend their childhood sitting at desks in school, many of our Happy Kids spent their days roaming the streets in search of plastic and cardboard recyclables to sell to the government or begging tourists for rice and spare change. It was always a dream of ours to enroll all of these children in school. In 2018, we made significant headway on this goal with 90% of our Happy Kids in school, supported by Happy Kids Center.
With the funds raised through this program, we hope to purchase ten tablets to be used by our Happy Kids of all education levels to ensure access to educational games and materials amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. These tablets will be stored at the Happy Kids Center office. The tablets will be set up with games and learning materials that cater to all education levels. Children will come in by family and will be given one to two hours each day of learning time. Students enrolled at Proxima International School through the EducateHKC sponsorship program will be able to access Proxima School's online learning materials to keep up with their classmates who have had access to these softwares for several months.
Happy Kids Center is staffed entirely by people who are local to the community the organization aims to support, so they know better than anyone, what the community needs and how best to provide it, especially in times of crisis. This specific program was designed by HKC's Managing Director who also manages an accelerated education program operating in East Africa, backed by several governments as well as UNICEF and Save the Children.