A literate village

Gonaha Village Development Committee (VDC) holds a total of 8,250 people in which Madhesi is the main ethnic group. In an assessment Partnership for New Life (PNL) found 3,292 people illiterate in this DVC. So, PNL planned to organize literacy classes for all Self-Help Groups (SHG) in Gonaha. So, we visited District Education Office (DEO) and explained the about the literacy situation in Gonaha and requested for supply of books required for literacy classes. DEO was quite hesitant for supplying us books because the literacy class run by Community Learning Centre and government schools were not successful in the past. They asked for official permission from the VDC office with a condition that there should be adequate literacy classes, not just a few sessions as it happened in the past. PNL called a mass meeting having key members of VDC. Most of them threw challenge to PNL that it is impossible to achieve success to make 3,292 people literate and declare a literate VDC. They also shared about previous literacy classes which never been successful in this VDC and warned us not to put your hand into the fire. We simply asked them a question that somebody has to work in this challenging situation, then why not PNL try it out. Considering our confidence and after long discussion with key leaders, they finally issued PNL an official permission letter to run literacy class. The DEO office provided reading books, stationery for students and they also provided volunteer teachers as part of their contribution.

PNL conducted 115 literacy classes in this VDC within a period of 3 month despite of several challenges and socio-economic constraints of people attending the classes. The monitoring body of DEO reported to the District Education Officer that the literacy class launched by PNL has been successful.

After this reporting, PNL organised a grand ceremony to declare Gonaha a Literate VDC. Having our invitation, more than 300 local and prominent people from Gonaha and representatives of government and non-government organisation came to join this special event. The former minister for agriculture (who belongs to Gonaha) had also participated as special guest who said that several organizations came into our VDC and they started different kind of works but without any success whereas PNL has done very good work in our VDC and transforming our community towards development. We really appreciate and remember PNL forever.

At that declaration programme, the Director of Regional Educational Directorate and the officer of DEO handed over an appreciation letter to PNL as the first NGO in Rupandehi district to receive an appreciation from DEO for successful running of literacy classes. Now PNL is known to most people in Gonaha and have positive attitude towards the work our works and want to join as member of SHG. We are really encouraged to do a lot for the community in future having such support in response to our development efforts.