Morang Programme Unit
Area: 1,855 sq. km
Sponsored children: Around 5,800
Morang, lying 500 km from Kathmandu, is the second biggest district in eastern Nepal and home to various ethnic groups with their own dialects. Plan started working in Morang in 1992 and our programmes now extend to all the areas of the district.
Healthy learning environment
Only 60% of children reach grade 2 in Morang and drop-out and class repetition rates are high. Plan has concentrated on developing child-friendly learning environments by building 85 school buildings, latrines, libraries, providing desks and benches for students and training teachers.
We are also running early childhood care and development centres so that pre-school children can begin their education in an engaging learning environment. We have provided scholarships for more than 10,000 deprived children and children with disabilities.
The mother of Kabita, a deaf girl who received a scholarship and passed her exams for the first time, said: “It is not only good news for us but also encouragement and a good example to other disabled people that they have the potential to achieve something, provided they get appropriate opportunities. One of our dreams is fulfilled.”
Children participating in their development
Plan has promoted a child-to-child approach to school healthcare and children have staged rallies and plays to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinations. Children were also involved in running health camps where 7,300 school children were given ear, eye, nose, throat and dental screenings.
Building healthy communities
68% of families lack a latrine at home, forcing people to defecate openly in the village. This has created several health issues in the community, including a high incidence of disease.
Plan has created a Community-Led Total Sanitation movement and 26 communities have now declared themselves ‘open defecation-free’. This success has motivated the district development committee to aim to declare the whole district a ‘no open defecation’ district within 5 years.
To increase the inclusiveness of marginalised Dalits (so-called untouchables) and people with disabilities, Plan has initiated a social inclusion project to help these people raise their voices and have their perspectives heard.
This has brought changes in various government and non-government agencies, which now recognise that these groups need equal opportunities rather than sympathy.