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Loreto Day Cause 2024: Loreto Shiksha Sadan Development Centre, Dharan Nepal

By Anika Banerji and Anishka Kumar



With Loreto Day fast approaching (t-minus 2 days), we all must have a clear understanding of the 2024 Loreto Day initiative. During Loreto Day, we are easily caught up in the excitement of the food stalls and the house activities, sometimes we steer away from the crux of why we have Loreto Day and the minorities we aim to support.


Education is an inherent human right that works to raise people out of poverty, reduce inequalities and sustain gender equality. Progress towards providing quality education has already slowed, “causing learning losses in four out of five of the 104 countries studied” (United Nations, 2023). Without additional measures, an estimated 84 million children and young people will stay out of school by 2030 and approximately 300 million students will lack fundamental numeracy and literacy skills, further re-entrenching socio-economic disparities. At Loreto Normanhurst, we often take for granted the teaching and resources we receive - ultimately equipping us with the tools we need to access employment and future study. 


The disparity between the Western world’s provision of education, against that of developing countries is stark: on average in Nepal, “339, 000 students fail the school leavers certificate every year” (Teach For Nepal, 2021). On a larger, more long-term scale, this implicates their access to university and employment, entrenching them back into the vicious cycle of poverty - making them susceptible to human trafficking. 


With the clearly defined status quo in mind, Year 11, as a collective, has decided to concentrate our Loreto Day efforts on Mary Ward International located in Dharan, Nepal. Established in 1996, Shiksha Sadan houses girls from vulnerable local communities so they continue their education allowing themselves to obtain further opportunities. Without this vital centre, these girls would no longer be able to gain education past primary school. Whilst living at the centre, students receive nutritional meals, tutoring, training in local crafting techniques and more - ultimately equipping them holistically with fundamental skills and tools to gain employment. The continuity of education past primary levels prevents girls from forced marriage, early pregnancy, and human trafficking. Secondary education allows these girls the tools to enhance their opportunities to explore different roles beyond domestic jobs. Overall, Skiksha Sadan improves gender outcomes for girls living in Nepal, slowly closing the gender gap, mitigating the exacerbation of poverty, and instilling confidence in these young girls. 


This year, our cause also aligns with various IBVM Calls to Action such as ‘Going where the need is greatest’, and UN Sustainable Development Goals, showing the immense significance that equitable access to education for all girls is fundamental in achieving gender parity. So, with Loreto Day in just under a week, let’s as a school community, engage in the rich opportunities for discussion and take on further research to deepen our collective understanding of this issue that remains so prevalent in our 21st-century society.

 


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