Women in rural Nepali villages have very few opportunities to earn money. So when Rima heard that Partners in Sustainable Learning was hiring and training a preschool teacher in her community, she was eager to apply. Although Rima had a limited education, her husband was a teacher and he encouraged her to give it a try.
Rima was selected and attended the 7 day PiSL teacher training in April 2013. Initially, she was shy and reluctant to participate in the singing and active games. However, she gradually became more confident. The last day of the training, she got up in front of the group and read a story aloud. This was a big step for her!
One of PiSL’s roles in rural Nepal has been to give young women the chance to become teachers and become empowered to lead and contribute.
Rima completed the teacher training. She walked back to her village carrying her new teaching materials, accompanied by her proud husband. However, unlike the other 9 teachers who were returning to their newly renovated classrooms, Rima was planning to teach in the front porch of a neighbor’s house because she had no classroom.
Rima started teaching in this small space with her nine students and did the best she could. Meanwhile, PiSL’s partner Nepali organization, VIN, had found a community member who offered a piece of his field where the new classroom could be built. PiSL committed to support the cost of the building materials. It became Rima’s task to organize work days with the villagers to build it.
On the first work day, only a few women showed up, but Rima was undeterred. She continued to organize work days, and gradually more villagers arrived to contribute their labor to get the classroom built. Rima was beginning to experience the transformation that happens when people are provided the ability to positively influence their own life and the lives of others.
Several weeks passed and with the continued support of the villagers, Rima’s classroom began to grow and was ready to be whitewashed inside and out to make it bright and cheerful. Three child-sized tables, a storage cabinet and cubbies (purchased by PiSL and made by a local carpenter) were moved from a storage barn to the new classroom. Rugs were placed on the floor so children could sit comfortably at the tables and while playing on the floor. Parents were asked to make simple cushions made from rice husks and left-over pieces of fabric. Rima was ready to continue her teaching career in a new classroom!
Rima’s story is really about empowerment. As Rima gained confidence and conviction, she found the power inside herself to move beyond what she might had thought was possible. In addition to her teaching, she became involved in the newly formed women’s group in her village. Rima was taking chances, stepping up for her community, and, ultimately making a difference for the people around her.
PiSL is happy to be an integral part of giving Rima the chance to grow and excel. We would like to help other women in the developing world have this opportunity. Would you like to become part of this movement?
Diann Grimm is the Executive Director of Partners in Sustainable Learning. She is proud to have had the opportunity to train Rima and watch her develop as an Early Childhood Educator and empowered community member.