Better Life – Educating & Keeping Children Safe in Helambu

Project start-finish

01.12.2020 - 30.11.2023


2,785,930 DK


JUST Nepal Foundation

About Project

A better life – educating and protecting children in Helambu, Nepal 

Quality education is a cornerstone in the fight against poverty and inequality. It plays a key role in the development of social and economic justice, gender equality and the development of a robust democracy.

Inclusive and equitable quality education, the right of all children to receive education in the context of their communities, rooted in their cultural context is highlighted in SDG 4 ‘Quality Education’.

It is with this in mind that CICED is embarking on a three-year project with our partner Just Nepal Foundation. The project is implemented in close collaboration with Helambu Rural Municipality of Sindhupalchock.

A host of challenges
The project area was a hotspot during the Nepalese civil war that ended in 2006, which left deep scars on the local community.
The area was also hit hard by an earthquake in 2015. It had the highest death toll in the country and 95% of homes and infrastructure were destroyed. Many families are still living in makeshift houses as the social and economic effects of the earthquake were not fully compensated.
The area is also home to the highest rate of human trafficking in Nepal. High-risk youth migration, primarily to the Middle East, is also high, and the challenges are mounting.

With a new federal system in 2018, for the first time in modern times, a person from the area was elected to the position of mayor. And that opens up new opportunities.

Hindu caste-based discrimination in Nepal is prevalent in schools. The education system is rooted in and reproduces a vicious cycle of inequality and discrimination based on caste and ethnicity. Two-thirds of the children enrolled in Helambu schools drop out before completing fifth grade.

“It’s the whole attitude that is at the heart of the education problem in Nepal. You find great tolerance for inequality and there is a pretty pervasive belief that the poor, the marginalized, the lower castes, are somehow responsible for their own condition. We often see that teachers and communities don’t understand each other. Teachers and school management often come from castes or ethnic groups that are different from the local community. Often the language of the teachers is different from that of the community. When a child arrives on the first day of school, she often doesn’t understand what the teacher is saying and may even be forbidden to speak in her mother tongue, even though the school itself is located in the middle of her village.” explains Rita Tisdall, Project Manager at CICED.

Therefore, in addition to teacher training, the training of school and parent committees is an important part of the project. The project has a strong focus on strengthening civil society.

“Our local community is characterized by a culture of division. If we are to successfully address this and promote robust gatekeeping to stop trafficking of girls, we need to expand the scope and meaning of school. The whole community needs to be involved,” explains the mayor of Helambu

A two-stage rocket to a better future

The project focuses on two fronts. First, we mobilize and empower parents, communities, schools and local governors through a ‘Total School Approach’ to collectively confront the obstacles that exist in respective communities and schools. We facilitate a process where schools and their communities can become partners and develop a shared vision for children and their education.

Secondly, we are working to improve the education that children receive at school. Teaching should be rooted in the children’s own world, in the challenges and history of the local community and not primarily in a reality that is completely foreign to the children. And they need to be taught in a language they can understand.

There are 34 schools and communities involved in the project. They will be supported by Total School Approach Teams. Each team will have a specific cluster of schools where they live throughout the project and provide practical support and input.


Potatoes can be saved

31. May 2024 Johnny Baltzersen

The following text is a Danish adaptation of a post on JUST Nepal Foundation's Facebook page. Reading time 4 min - Listening time 6 min There is now hope for the potatoes in Helambu. And the tomatoes. During...

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From seen, to heard, to real influence

29. April 2024 Johnny Baltzersen

Reading time 7 min. - Listen 12 min. - click here This article is based on reports and conversations following Rita Tisdall's recent visit to Nepal. Rita is CICED's project coordinator in Nepal, and has just returned from some very...

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Two new climate adaptation projects in Nepal

29. February 2024 Johnny Baltzersen

At the latest application deadline for the so-called CCAM round, Climate Change Adaptation Modality, there were 38 applications for a total of DKK 87.6 million, according to CISU. However, thereĀ are only about 53 million kroner available for this round. CICED...

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International Disability Day

12. January 2024 Rita Tisdall

Written by: Rita Tisdall, CICED.                Every year on December 3rd we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It's a day dedicated to recognizing the struggles, achievements and contributions of persons with...

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Dawa has a better life!

17. April 2023 Johnny Baltzersen

- when you see what others haven't  By: Rita Tisdall and Johnny Baltzersen "SEE IT" was the headline, underlying philosophy and methodology of the course that kicked off our project in Helambu: Better Life - Education & Keeping Children Safe...

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Do we listen and understand?

3. April 2023 Johnny Baltzersen

Climate talks - watch the video With Dr. Deepak Kumal Rijal Transcript and editing: Johnny Baltzersen, CICED The transcription has some editorial adjustments to make the reading as straightforward as possible without changing the actual 'tone' of the interview. As...

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The invisible must be seen and heard

24. March 2023 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Rita Tisdall, p.t. Nepal  The Everest Network, a CICED partner, consists of seventeen CBOs (community based organizations) from the highest mountains of Mustang to the flatlands of the Terai along the border with India. Each area is affected by...

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The caste system challenged – bringing parents and teachers together

22. March 2023 Johnny Baltzersen

By Rita Tisdall, p.t. Nepal   The project in Helambu works to ensure that children are safe in their communities and that they can access inclusive schools. Since Nepal d. May 28, 2008 was declared a republic, it was not only...

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Children and the climate

21. September 2022 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen Children pay the highest price when the climate changes. "Children and climate change" was the theme of a seminar in the Danish Child Protection Network in mid-September. The challenge was initially framed in statements like these: 99%...

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The Everest Network

16. September 2022 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen  When disaster strikes, the media is filled with dramatic images of death and destruction. But also scenes of heroic efforts to save lives and limit the scale of the disaster. For many reasons, large relief organizations take...

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Prepared for floods in 2022

15. June 2022 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen  This is the title of a new relief project, the first of its kind, which CICED together with Just Nepal Foundation has had approved by CISU. Last year, on this very day, we sent out a newsletter...

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6. June 2022 Johnny Baltzersen

They are huddled around the computer. Ready for an interview over Skype. We're about to start fulfilling one of CICED's ambitions with our new online magazine ViSTA. We want to give more voice to our partners and the people who...

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3. April 2022 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen "The main purpose of the project is to bring schools and communities together. Schools and communities don't work together. They are kind of separated from each other. There's a reason for that. And that is that if...

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Power, school and community

3. April 2022 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen, "The main objective of the project is to bring schools and communities together. School and communities don't work together. They are like dissected from each other. There is a reason for this. And that is, if...

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Hope with a new direction

20. January 2022 Johnny Baltzersen

Johnny Baltzersen - and welcome to 2022 It was a year of challenges. The year 2021. Said with optimistic understatement. If you can call it that. No matter. This initial celebration could be a prelude to talking about anything in...

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It’s going in the right direction

24. September 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen  In Denmark, we are pleased that all corona restrictions have been put on hold. Occasionally, we also hear about the corona situation in countries close to us, but Danish media do not report much on how COVID-19...

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Apparently, it’s not supposed to be that easy in Helambu

17. June 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen  First, earthquakes. So corona. And now flooding. Life in Helambu takes its toll. And its victims. Official information says one fatality and at least seven missing. On the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, torrents of water and...

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Nepal requires the help of NGOs

7. June 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Rita Tisdall and Johnny Baltzersen  Over 65% of PCR tests are positive. The COVID-19 infection rate in Nepal has exploded with over 300,000 new cases in the last few months. The official infection number is now approaching 600,000. Hospitals...

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Goats must also be vaccinated

17. March 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen Yes, they need to be vaccinated. The goats. Not against corona. But against internal and external vermin. 'Many of our goats would still be alive if we had known what we know today'. These are the words...

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Protect the children

9. March 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen, chair, CICED CICED joins The Child Protection Network in Denmark Trafficking is a sensitive topic in Helambu, Nepal. It's not the only encroachment on children's right to grow up with their parents. In Helambu. Everywhere in Nepal. ...

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Beauty, curse and hope

5. March 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen, CICED The following text is a warm-up for a beautiful four-minute cinematic flyover of Helambu, which forms the background for an introduction to CICED's project Better Life - Educating and Keeping Children Safe. You can skip the...

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Death in Qatar – Hope in Helambu

24. February 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

A brand new article in The Guardian is a sad but effective reminder of why we focus on supporting young Nepalese in the Helambu region north of Kathmandu.  According to the Guardian's sources, over 6,500 migrant workers have died in...

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Wonderful documentary from Helambu

1. January 2021 Johnny Baltzersen

We've written a lot about the projects with and for young people in Helambu, Nepal. Now our partner Just Nepal Foundation has produced an excellent video about the effort.  Watch and listen to the young people talk about their participation...

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COVID-19 prevention in Helambu, Nepal

13. May 2020 Johnny Baltzersen

Youth activated - first medical check-up via home visits By: Johnny Baltzersen, CICED, chair  On the morning of April 6, CICED received a request from our partner JUST Nepal Foundation. The Corona virus had arrived in Nepal. The fear of...

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8. April 2020 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Johnny Baltzersen with Rita Tisdall and Gopal Lama  COVID-19 is everywhere. There are cries for help from all corners of the world. CICED is not a relief organization. And we're not a big association. Our support will be limited...

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3. April 2020 Johnny Baltzersen

An overview of general challenges and how CICED, our partners and projects are doing. By: Johnny Baltzersen, CICED, chair  While all the headlines for weeks have been about the coronavirus in our own backyard, the focus is now also on...

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Helambu Youth Cooperative established

3. February 2020 Johnny Baltzersen

Inspired by the Putting Youth on the Centre Stage project, young people from all 7 villages (wards) in Helambu have established a cooperative. CICED's partner JUST Nepal Foundation provides fantastic support with formalization and other paperwork. The young people themselves...

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A unique request to CICED

3. December 2019 Johnny Baltzersen

School development, social inclusion and anti-trafficking efforts in Helambu By Rita Tisdall and Johnny Baltzersen, CICED  Nepal has undergone extensive political change over the past three decades. The driving force behind the changes are popular demands for a more inclusive...

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A unique request for CICED to partner in a new school project in Helambu

3. December 2019 Johnny Baltzersen

By Rita Tisdall and Johnny Baltzersen, CICED Nepal has undergone substantial political changes over the last three decades. The driving factor behind Nepal's People Movement was the aspirations of the Nepali people for a more inclusive and equal society. In...

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Migration dreams revisited

23. November 2019 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Rita Tisdall in Nepal The first phase of the project, "Putting Youth on Centre Stage," has been successfully completed in Helambu Nepal. Helambu was head hit by the 2015 earthquake 3,000 people died and 90% of all buildings were...

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Trip to the Gulf is canceled

20. November 2019 Johnny Baltzersen

By: Rita Tisdall and Johnny Baltzersen  "A new conversation is born. Is it really necessary to migrate? No one used to ask that question. Getting away was like winning the lottery. Now everyone is talking about it. We're not so...

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