After two years of lockdown situation, we finally got two guests from abroad. Pillar Lopez Dafonte, Coordinator of South Asian Desk of Xavier Network, and Fr. Carlos Fritzen,SJ, Coordinate General of International Federation of Fe Y Alegria, arrived in Nepal on 16th Nov. The purpose of Pilar’s visit was combined with monitoring and initiating the process of evaluation and final reporting procedures of the Xavier Network funded earthquake relief projects. Fr. Carlos came to experience the context and ground been prepared for initiation of Fe y Alegria Nepal. NJSI was privileged to welcome them at this time and made use of their honorable and valuable presence to Inaugurate the Kavre Regional Center and to Initiate Fe y Alegria Nepal, by officially signing the MoU with the International Federation of Fe y Alegria.
The much awaited moment came to realization on 20 Nov 2021, when Nepal Region Superior, Fr. Amrit Rai and Fr. Carlos Frintzen, the international coordinator fo Fe y Alegria officially signed an MOU declaring the beginning of the process of initiating Fe y Alegria Nepal. It was also the occasion of the inauguration of the Kavre Regional Centre and multipurpose training centre in Panchkal.
With the initiation of Fe y Alegria Nepal, NJSI takes the leadership in bringing Fe y Alegria to South Asia for the first time in a formal way. The similarities of Nepal with Latin American countries especially places like Peru, gives added affinity and collaborative possibilities of Fe y Alegria with Nepal and others. Fr. Roy Sebastian, along with Fr. Dani Villanueva, Cristin Fernandes, Miguel Santiuste, Pilar Lopez, Pablo Fune and many others from Entrecultaras along with NJSI staff and Nepal Jesuits had worked towards this achievement.
As Nepal being a Hindu country the modality of working of Fe y Alegria will be quite different from the Latin American Situation. NJSI had already launched the Rural Education Improvement Nepal Program as the forerunner of Fe y Alegria. The program is intended to improve the education in the rural government schools and we are well received by the local community. Moreover, the entry into the rural government schools, also opens the possibility of community and social development in those areas as well. NJSI is very much indebted to Entreculturas Spain for strong and steady accompaniment for this development of Fe Y Alegria Nepal.ç
Reaching the equipment for the Education Smart Hub to rural schools is always a tough job. Tila School and Shree Dev school in Oda village, Mahabai -2, in Kalikot district had three days of travel from Kathmandu including a couple of hours of on foot carrying everything on head to reach. The path was on the steep hills and a couple of land slides made it very dangerous to cross certain areas.
Kalikot is one of the least developed districts in Nepal towards the far western region. It has the population of about 136,000. The largest ethnic group is the Khas Chhetri which are 28.8% of the total population, The second largest group is Thakuri which is 25.1% of the total population. 17.7% are Kami, 17.1% Hill Brahmin, 5.1% Damai and 3.2% Sarki.
“Reaching the Unreached,” the maxim of of NJSI, goes very much along with the maxim “Fe y Alegria starts where the Asphalt stops.” The Students and staff from Tila School Carrying the equipment
Fr. Roy Sebastian, SJ. , Mr. Kamal Shrestha, Mr. Ramhari Thpa Magar, Mr. Kailash Thapa, Mr. Arus Magar constituted the NJSI team which went to Kalikot District on 9th November 2021, for the first time to start the intervention of Rural Education Improvement Nepal Program. The schools were recommended by the newly established Jesuit team looking for starting the Karnali Jesuit Mission, an area not much explored till today by the the Catholic religious. It has been many years since the Nepal Jesuits wanted to start a mission in Karnali and Far western region of Nepal.
We were fortunate to be supported and to work in collaboration with Oda Foundation, a local organization running health care and village development. Mr. Karan Singh and his staff accompanied NJSI team to the village and did the necessary arrangement for the stay and fixing the smart hub. The students and the people are very excited about the new development in their village schools.