A reading camp awakens Milan

Feb 11, 2019
By: Barun Bajracharya, World Vision Nepal
Edited by: Daniel Wilcox

As children across Canada dive into another year of school, in Teenkanya, a quiet and peaceful village in Nepal, children are honing their literacy skills in innovative ways.
Milan is symbolic of the children you’ll meet in Teenkanya: friendly, with a smile from ear to ear.
As a student, Milan struggled with the ability to read in the first few years of primary school. But his development turned a corner with the introduction of child-friendly teaching approaches at his school and a local reading camp. Children attend the camp on weekends to build their literacy skills.

Milan, a young boy, holds a book in his hands as he reads it.
Milan reads through a story in his local Nepali language. Photo: Barun Bajracharya

Reading camp awakening

Set among lush green hills, traditional mud mortar houses, and wonderful orange trees, the reading camp is attended by many children. Milan shares, “Our reading camp facilitator, Renuka, encourages us to learn through songs, dance and games. That way children like me have fun while learning.”

Renuka has seen how this approach has sparked Milan’s growth. “Before joining the reading camp, Milan’s reading skills were not sharp. He used to have difficulty and he also stammered. But after participating in the camp, his reading is now mostly effortless,” Renuka explained.

Renuka and Milan face each other outside of the summer camp in the Himalayan foothills.
Renuka (left) and Milan share a laugh before heading into a reading camp session. Photo: Barun Bajracharya

Milan’s school teacher, Mr. Bahadur, echoes these improvements, “Earlier Milan’s exam scores were just average. But after joining the reading camp his scores are gradually improving. Apart from his improved reading and comprehension skills, the reading camp has also brushed up his creative skills. His drawings are quite good for a kid his age.”

Antakshari – a sing-song game

An example of what makes the camp successful can be found with the game ‘antakshari’:

“Students are divided in two groups. The rules are simple. First, one group sings a few lines of a song and then the other group has to sing a song beginning with the last letter of the last word of the earlier group’s song. And the singing goes on and on. This helps build the vocabulary of the students,” Renuka shared.

A large mud and thatch house, which is home for the reading camp, sits on a hillside in Nepal.
The house where Milan and other children attend reading camp. Photo: Barun Bajracharya

Sponsorship as a vehicle to learn

As Canadian children look forward to another year of growth in their own educational development, child sponsorship is helping provide children like Milan with an opportunity to further their dreams. In Nepal alone, World Vision education projects are supporting many communities as the recovery from the massive 2015 earthquake continues. This includes:
  • 20 earthquake-affected schools built in Sindhuli district in Nepal. 
  • 48 reading camps set up.
  • 11 earthquake-resistant classrooms have been built.
  • 60 book corners established.
  • 51 school teachers have been trained on Literacy Boost, a proven literacy program that supports the development of reading skills in young children.
Nelson Mandela shared that, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” Over the next year, our hope is that the children in your life will be empowered to grow and develop in the same way Milan has. In doing so, they will help to build a better world.

The foothills of the Himalayan mountains are lush with vegetation.
The stunning scenery outside Teenkanya, Nepal. Photo: Barun Bajracharya