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Learning with the Sarawagi Scholars

· Ashlynne Ray

Education is a powerful tool.

Nepal ranks among the world's poorest countries. There are various problems that exist including weak and often changing governmental infrastructure, social inequality, and environmental degradation. Talking with some of the high school students, I can sense their negativity towards their futures and the opportunities they may lack in their country. However, Nepal is one of the richest countries when it comes to culture, history, and community values. Without education for our next generations, we can't be sure that our country will be able to solve the problems we face. That's why, at Sarawagi, we endeavor to provide quality education for the children of our weavers. Education is the foundation for our children to become useful and powerful agents of change for this country. We are working hard to motivate and inspire the students in our community; we are proud of their achievements and we love working with our brilliant scholars.

Sarawagi Scholars are students from kindergarten to grade 10. Shally introduced me to our four high school scholars: Sabina Sangam, Jaikala, and Santosh - and for the past couple of weeks I've had the opportunity to work with them. We have read news stories to stay up-to-date with world events, watched inspirational videos to motivate ideas for change, and practiced leadership while building confidence in conversational English. These four students are giggly and silly but also incredibly bright and full of potential.

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In fact, based on their academic records, Sabina and Sangam were awarded the prestigious Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship. Now, looking forward, these girls are working hard towards furthering their leadership roles in their own communities.

This week, I was treated to a field trip. The group was so excited to show me where they are from; they were pointing out all their favorite local spots on the bus to the edge of the city. "That's where we go to eat momo. It's famous in this neighborhood." From here, we walked through the forest up to Fulari Gumba. They were so thoughtful: they made sure that I had water and an umbrella over my head at all times. We arrived sweating and tired from the heat and sun, but that didn't affect anyone's moods. The monastery itself was the perfect reward. It was gorgeous; the inside was closed due to the earthquake but the outside was magnificent.

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We all laughed as Santosh somersaulted down the grass, we took some photos in front of the beautiful scenery, and then we headed down the path with a view of the city.

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Afterwards, they took me to the famous momo spot! "Did you like it?" Like it? I loved it! I am so thankful to have these giving friends to show me their favorite places, and we are lucky to have these students in our Sarawagi community.

We will continue to work hard towards earning fulfilling futures.

I can't wait to see where they go from here.

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