Nepal will always have a special place in our hearts. There, we had the opportunity to volunteer at a Buddhist monastery to teach English through Alliance Nepal. It was during this experience we realized the need for better education opportunities for the Nepali children. Now, Pokhara will very its very own Learning House.
When we arrived at the monastery, we learned that the monastery had just hired their very first English teacher. The monastery was relying solely on volunteers to help teach English to its young monks. Consistency is key when it comes to education. While we were only in the monastery for one month, we saw how eager the children were to learn English. They just needed opportunities to learn.
In Nepal, many schools don’t have enough supplies or teachers to provide adequate education. Less than half of Nepali students pass the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam. This is equivalent to an American high school diploma and is required for higher education and many job opportunities.
Michelle Welsch, an American who has spent over one year volunteering in Nepal, is extremely passionate about providing education. She was the one who raised money and set out to hire the monastery’s first English teacher. She installed a solar system so that the children could study at night and organized an educational tour and dental clinic. She has now focused her efforts on building the Learning House.
Welsch and her team of local colleagues are transforming a two-story building in downtown Pokhara into an education hub. The Learning House will offer services like internships and job placement, career counseling, English language training, entrepreneurship seminars and tutoring. The facility will also feature a tea and coffee house, complete with high-speed Internet.
The center will be open to all Nepalis, regardless of background or income level.
The team plans to open The Learning House in early 2015. The center will establish relationships with local schools, businesses and organizations and will offer discounts and promotions for classes. Welsch believes that, if successful, more centers like this can open throughout Nepal to encourage community leadership and local development.
If you would like to donate to this effort, you can do so here. The Learning House is also looking for any direct donations such as computers, books, learning resources, and even volunteers! If you interested in helping, email The Learning House here!