Welcome to the Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme, or HELP for short. We are a limited company registered as a charity (No. 1117646) with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.
As our name suggests, we provide support to young people in poor communities in the Himalayas to give them a chance to complete their education and so improve their employment prospects when they leave school or college. In so doing, we hope in the longer term to have an impact not only on their own living standards, but also on those of their extended families and of the wider communities they come from.
Many Himalayan families are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Living at subsistence level, parents need the labour of their children, particularly the girls, to help the family feed itself. This means that they cannot always afford to release their children to attend school or college.
In spite of an encouraging growth in the percentage of children of primary school age (particularly of girls) actually attending school in both the Indian Himalayas and Nepal, a rough average of 15% still do not benefit from a basic school education, and this figure disguises a large disparity between the highest income families and the lowest.
Attendance at secondary school has also improved considerably since 1996, but still far too many children miss out on education at this level. Less than half of all Nepali children continue their education at the secondary level. In the country as a whole, 30.9 percent of all children of secondary school age attend secondary school. As at the primary level, the disparities linked to the area of residence and to household wealth are larger than the disparities linked to gender. In urban areas, 50.6 percent of secondary school aged children attend school and in rural areas the figure is 28.7 percent.
The link between poverty and school attendance at the secondary level of the education system is even stronger than at the primary level. For children from the richest 20 percent of all households, 57% attend school. Among the poorest 20 percent of all households the figure is 14.6 percent, less than a quarter of the richest households (source: Huebler, F.).
The consequence of this is that many of these children do not get the education they need to achieve their full earning or social potential and so remain trapped in the impoverished existence they are born into.
Even if the child can go to school, the quality of education is often very poor. Problems include untrained and unmotivated teachers, unaffordable books and uniforms, crowded classrooms (and often different class levels have to share the same classroom). Of those children that do manage, against the odds, to get through their schooling, very few indeed are able to go on to higher education.
HELP realises its aims by enabling responsible and committed people from the developed world to:
- sponsor young people with the potential to benefit from a school or college education, but without the means to do so.
- make a donation, helping a child or a school lacking the means to acquire the textbooks, equipment or premises required to provide a satisfactory education for the children in their charge.
- undertake short-term assignments as volunteer teachers in deprived village schools in support of their teaching programmes.
All donations and sponsorship money, net only of unavoidable bank charges, will go to the child or school you want to support. Volunteers are asked to make a small contribution towards HELP's expenses (see the volunteer page for details.)