Partners in Sustainable Learning (PiSL) has trained 60 enthusiastic young women to become preschool teachers in 30 remote, rural villages in Okhaldhunga, Nepal. As we taught these teachers how to implement the PiSL Early Childhood Curriculum (translated in Nepali), we watched each one of them gain confidence and assurance as they became more willing to demonstrate a newly learned skill or read a book aloud. One group even had the courage to demonstrate activities from the curriculum to their community’s members on graduation day!
It was incredible to watch these shy, cautious women grow in their skills and confidence. But the best moment came when we asked them to individually come to the front of the classroom to answer this question, “What are your hopes and dreams for the future?” As children and adults in the Western world, we are often asked to consider this question in school, in our jobs and in our relationships. However, as women with limited independence, arranged marriages that require them to leave their home village to live with their husband’s family, and very limited resources, thoughts of the future might include having enough food to feed their children tomorrow. We asked them to try to think further ahead. After modeling our own hopes and dreams, each teacher came to the front of the classroom, one by one. They responded to this difficult question with introspection and honesty. Some of their replies:
What do dreams provide us? They guide us, help us reach goals and give us hope for the future. Through education, encouragement and reassurance, these women were given an extraordinary opportunity to feel strong, smart and confident. When asked to reflect on their path, they responded with simple, yet powerful answers. Okhaldhunga has hundreds more villages where young women are waiting to recognize what their dreams for the future could be. You can help by sponsoring a teacher in one of our villages or invest in our continuing early education projects. Any way you choose, you can help make dreams come true.