How COVID-19 is affecting the Himalayan Trust’s education programme

Sonam Sherpa, 8, studies maths with teacher Tilak Prasad Dhamgang, 37, at the Lukla Primary School, in Lukla, Nepal, on February 20th, 2016.

How COVID-19 is affecting the Himalayan Trust’s education programme

As of 9 April 2020, Nepal has nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 including one case of community transmission. There are no confirmed cases in the Solukhumbu District (Everest region) yet.

The Himalayan Trust’s education programme has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. The programme focuses on improving the quality of education through intensive teacher training, supplying resources and equipment and upgrading school facilities in the Solukhumbu District.

On 24 March 2020, the Nepalese government announced a nationwide lockdown which closed all schools, as well as non-essential businesses and the international border. The people of Nepal have been told to stay at home and maintain strict social distancing. The lockdown has been extended to at least 15 April 2020, and it could go on for much longer.

With all schools closed, children are not currently receiving a formal education. Some schools in major cities like Kathmandu have started online courses, but most families in the Solukhumbu District don’t have home computers or internet access, so delivering education remotely is a major challenge.

Our programme delivery partners are reaching out to parents over phone where possible and encouraging them to do educational activities with their children and teach them life skills during the lockdown. They are also in contact with local government to try to establish home-based learning programmes with teachers over the phone.

Depending on how far COVID-19 spreads in Nepal, the government may well extend school closures for months. We are currently exploring ways we can enable education to continue in the Solukhumbu District in these difficult circumstances. Education, more than anything else, has the power to lift people out of poverty. It is vital that children can continue their learning, even when schools are closed, so that they can have a brighter future.

We are also preparing for the likelihood that we will need to provide urgent healthcare and humanitarian support. That’s why your help now is more important than ever. If you can, please donate online. Your support now will help us respond quickly to cushion the blow of COVID-19.

Thank you for your ongoing support during what is a difficult time for everybody. We will continue to update you on the developing situation in Nepal. In the meantime, we hope you and your family/whānau are keeping safe and well.

He waka eke noa, we are all in this together.