Young People expect to be partners to deal with pandemic; not the beneficiaries

“Some of my friend gossip near the drinking fountain that they will not come back to school after the lock-down ends. What is the value of education after all, it is the money that matters! I am not sure if I’ll be able to study grade 8 after this lock-down situation” says Nani Danuwar, a fourteen-year young girl from the Danuwar Community in Lalitpur district of Nepal. Nani is just a symbol of thousands of young people in Nepal and especially those from the disadvantaged communities who sleep every night worrying about the implications the pandemic situation caused by the new Coronavirus would leave behind in their life. The pandemic situation has plagued these young people with daily uncertainty and major disruption in their routine, education, social and economic lives. “Last year, I took the examination of grade 7 and still the result is pending. I read last year’s book times and again now also since I do not if I can get new books to read or not” adds Nani Danuwar during the interview done by National Campaign for Education Nepal (NCE Nepal), a national network of more than 364 member organizations working for right to education in Nepal since 2003.

Young people have started to feel alone and are engaged in the household chores. Basically the ones from the marginalized communities are beyond the access of online learning or internet facilities. Life has been hard for these young people with limited or no source of income and restriction of movement and gathering. “There is always a dispute between my parents regarding the income. Movement should not be restricted by the government as we poor ones are dying anyway with either the virus or hunger” says Bir Danuwar, a young boy of sixteen years old of the same community. There has been increased tension in the families affecting children’s psychology, increased anger, anxiety, depression and also increased cases of social abuse and crime in the nation due to the pandemic situation. Though young people are with their family, they seldom feel at ease as they need the company of people of their age to share their problems. Another difficulty came with protecting young people from the internet, games or any such addictions.


Nevertheless, there are also young people in the society who feel that they can contribute to stand together with the nation to fight against the virus. Young researchers of the Youth Action Research of NCE Nepal from the same Dukuchhap community have been engaged in providing counselling services to their juniors regarding how to cope up with the situation and to ensure learning at home with the different activities. “I tell stories to my sister and whenever she feels like leaving school, I make her realize how important education is to be independent and empowered” says Siya Danuwar, a twenty three-year youth researcher. “Young people require continuous motivation, courage, empowerment and continuous mentoring so that they become determined enough to tackle well with any abnormal situation” adds Siya during the interview done by NCE Nepal. These young people not only expect to be the beneficiaries but also wants to be the partners to deal with the pandemic situation. They expect themselves to be heard and collaborate with local governments to find solutions together.


Ram Gaire, NCE Nepal

Note: all names of young people have been altered.

This blog is part of our COVID-19 blog series aiming to highlight issues affecting education, learners and education activists worldwide, including displaced populations, inclusive and adult education. We are also highlighting issues from regional perspectives in Africa, Latin America and several blogs will focus on youth.

Stay tuned to our Covid-19 webinar series for more in-depth discussions.

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.