'A mother’s power in shaping the fate of her children' says Ms. Keshari Ghale Gurung. Keshari Ghale Gurung is a great example of compassion. Before her retirement, she taught at the Balbikash School for more than 30 years. Then, with her heart still set on educating underprivileged children, she started EDUC – Nepal (Education and Development for the Underprivileged Children of Nepal). Currently, EDUC provides education, stationary, text books, meals and uniforms for 45 underprivileged children.
Keshari is 57 years old but her drive to affect change remains youthful. While she was teaching at the Balbikash School, she would regularly perform the janitorial duties (cleaning class rooms, corridors and the kitchen) whenever the helper was on leave and was frequently mistaken for her. She was never fazed by this though, as she believes in no hierarchy with regards to work.
As a child growing up in Singapore, Hong Kong and India, Keshari used to make-believe she was a teacher. When she was 21 years old, after her family returned to Nepal, she finally got her first teaching opportunity at government school called the Balbikash School. Here, many of her students were from poor families and a number of them from the Dalit community. Some even lacked clothes and would attend school barely dressed. The need combined with the despair she saw in these underprivileged students’ eyes touched her and moved her to make a pledge to help them forever.
EDUC is the fruit of this pledge. Keshari wanted to see her students study in better conditions and her students wanted this as well. Yes! They wanted to study in a better school where the infrastructure was intact and they could wear ties, belts and colorful uniforms! The dream of EDUC was their answer and first became reality through the encouragement and financial support of Keshari’s elder brother. Since its opening, EDUC has been finding more and more ways of attracting funds. At present, EDUC has 2 quotas of teachers paid by the government. All the other expenses are covered by Keshari's loved ones (her daughter, nieces and nephews abroad who raise money overseas for EDUC) and by KG’s gift angels and sponsors who contribute towards students' uniforms and stationary.
Though EDUC is now a reality, Keshari has not finished dreaming. She longs to touch the lives of even more children. Increased funding would enable her to enroll more students, but more importantly would also allow her to open EDUC to illiterate mothers. As a mother herself and the founding mother of EDUC, Keshari knows the power a mother has in shaping the fate of her children.