"What if the Community Center in Manohara will no longer exist?" Strategically, we asked the newest team members first, and ended with our oldest team members who also happen to be the mothers who live in Manohara. The responses were genuine and heartfelt from the participants of the orientation workshop on 23rd January.

“If we had no Community Center, the few hours the children in the settlement engage in studying after the school, would not be possible. They cannot afford private tuition programs, the ASP program is providing a much-needed service to over 45 children”, shared Milan Thapaliya, an ASP teacher.

“Furthermore, we would not have space to hold community meetings. Currently our community leaders, and also the savings and credit group women also meet at our center,” mentioned Renu Lama, center manager.

ECD facilitators, who are also mothers of children who attend our center shared that with ECD, they, along with other parents in the community now value the importance of developing the foundation for children before sending them to school, and understood how early socialization is a way to help prevent children from dropping out from schools, and becoming street children. They feel safe when they know their children is at the center, rather than playing along the road, or playing in the riverbank.

Everyone appreciated the every day engagement and interaction possible at the center, rather than a one time/ one day program. The ECD teachers were also very positive about the Moms' Club that was started this year, that helped increase mother's awareness about how children learn from their home environment just as much as they do from the center, and how the development of children happens when they are below 5 years.

Gita Lama, an ECD teacher, was excited by the training opportunities, the potential job placements, and the sense of hustle bustle around our community center.

Sneh Rajbhandari, Program Manager at INCLUDED Nepal shared that it motivated her listening to the team that they too want to improve the services, and feel that there has been progress in the quality this year, especially through an attempt to streamline the program.

Report by Sneh Rajbhandari