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Fr. Roy Sebastian SJ, Regional Coordinator of  Fe y Alegria in Nepal shares news on the “Save our Planet” movement which includes creating Eco clubs in rural government schools to create environmental awareness among the new generation.

The “Save our Planet” movement was started by Nepal Jesuit Social Institute (NJSI)- Fe y Alegria Nepal, a couple of years ago, along with the Rural Education Improvement program in Nepal. The program included creating Eco clubs in rural government schools in order to create ecological awareness among the new generation of emerging population and instill a sense of responsibility towards the environment and nature. The children are not only given orientation but are also formed into groups to do activities to keep the school compound clean, maintain school gardens, conduct awareness programs in the villages, and so forth. The children are given the opportunity to develop their leadership qualities, following the student movement in Patna, India, called “Tarumitra”. In fact, a couple of years ago about 30 children from Nepal were taken for a week-long camp at Tarumitra, Patna.

The program now runs in about 30 rural schools even though it was dull due to the covid lockdowns. NJSI-Fe Y Alegria Nepal recently organized a multi-school seminar cum eco camp at the newly constructed regional activity center in the village. The seminar focused on the impact of pesticide uses on agriculture in Nepal. The students and the teacher who participated from five schools had the opportunity to present their opinions and the action plan on their part. Along with the local social leaders, the Mayor and the head of the agriculture department from the Municipality participated and gave in-puts at the seminar.

Now with new energy, the students in Gramonnathi school in Dadapari, Kavre district, has emerged with the goal of spreading eco club in nearby Government school. “The children on their own have shown enthusiasm and taken responsibility to visit the other schools and campaign the ‘Save our Planet’ Movement’”, Says, Mr. Ram Waibha, the Principal.

NJSI-Fe Y Alegria Nepal is now fully involved in developing Education Smart Hubs in rural government schools of Nepal, as we have already installed in 32 schools with the support of Xavier Network and Caritas, Germany and Caritas, Italia. This year there will be another 20 schools or so in our list. The program is aimed at bringing qualitative change in the rural education of Nepal, were mostly the teachers are not trained while the population is not motivated towards educating their children. Along with education materials, NJS-Fe y Alegria Nepal, is giving teachers training, Personality development program, and parents orientation. Development of a “Critical Conscience” among the growing children who will eventually habituate “critical thinking” for decision making and will avoid the bandwagon of religious and political myths.