Stories from the field: Sudan Bhattarai
At our event, “A Night for Nepal” you were given a glimpse of several stories of the lives of villagers in Archale, Nepal where Shining Three Star Academy is. Saprinu volunteers, Biswas and Basanta interviewed these people, translated them into English, and produced these stories. Over the next few weeks, months, and hopefully years we intend to follow students and their families continuing to tell their story. These stories may be heartbreaking, but reality often is. Through the work of Saprinu and its supporters we hope to see a shift from hopelessness, to one of hope and prosperity. It is not just about education, it is about creating a sustainable community by which education is only the beginning.
This is the next story of villagers in Archale, Nepal and it belongs to Sudan Bhattarai, age 29
I currently live with my wife and two sons and work as Principal of Shining Three Star Academy. After I graduated from high school, I got a diploma in Computer Education and was subsequently offered a job of computer operator in Malaysia via an agent in Nepal. When I moved to Malaysia, I found that I was duped by the agent and instead I had to work as a loader in a cement factory. So, I decided to return to my village to do something worthy after a brief stay there.
There had always been a lack of good schools in my village and the surroundings. The students had to face a lot of difficulties to get quality education. They had to travel far to study in a good school which resulted high dropout rate. So, when I grew up, I had always wished to open a good school in my village to provide an opportunity of quality education. I had started to work as a trekking guide after my return from Malaysia and used to share my idea of opening a new school with my friends and acquaintances. In the meanwhile, I met Brooke who was convinced with my idea and was immediately ready to start the work with me. Initially, we thought Shantibazar would be the perfect location for the school, as it is situated in the lowlands along the bank of Trishuli River and would be accessible from the surrounding villages. But, during the rainy season Shantibazar is affected by flood and we had to look for an alternative. So, we selected Archale as a location for the school and I provided my own house for the purpose. There were a other reasons too behind choosing Archale as the location for new school. Archale lies in the center of many villages and is safe from natural calamities like flood and landslides. Also, my house was used for new school which saved our initial expenses as well. Our vision was not only limited to running a school but we also wanted to focus on helping the community as well. So, finally we started Shining Three Star Academy on April 2010. Initially, it was difficult running a new school as we were inexperienced. But, as we started moving forward, we learned from various teacher trainings. We also learned from our own experiences as well. Gradually, we were joined by a lot of like-minded individuals. Now as we have a young, smart and strong team, we share innovative ideas among us and work together to achieve our goal.
Although my village is only about four hour drive from Kathmandu, the economic condition of the people is poor and we lack basic facilities. There are about 300 houses in this village with the approximate population of 3000. Although the literacy rate is satisfactory, the education methodology is limited to books and we lack vocational education. The goal of the students is just to clear the secondary school examinations for the sole purpose of migrating to the Gulf countries for work. So our plan with Shining Three Star Academy is to change that trend in the new generation and provide children with quality education and opening a new horizon of learning opportunities. This enables them to choose a career path related to their interests. My passion is to become a social worker and help the community, so I am very much satisfied with my experiences with the school and I am proud that this school is going to bring good changes in the village.