Literacy is the building block for a prosperous nation. Literacy opens the door of knowledge. The more knowledge one gains, the more aware one becomes. When people become literate the awareness of the nation becomes high, changing the level of governance and the quality of life. Knowledge is cardinal as it l provides the people with the skills that are necessary to move forward, both as a person and as a nation. It creates a path leading to being accomplished in the chosen area of pursuit. Knowledge creates a surrounding of equality, where each person knows that they are equally capable in whatever their interest is. To make a nation good, it requires strong laws. Likewise, to make a nation great, it requires literacy.
Most of our schools made us dance to the tune of "leka ka hami ketaketi" - we children of the hills - when we were at school going. It took me a long time to grasp what was happening in the song. Within the crevices of Karnali, there lay areas with temperatures so cold it could freeze water, and terrain so cruel one could slide to their death. The little kids in these places have to go to the unimaginable extent of the hardship to attend even a single day at school. Not to mention the relentless tasks they do for the family, along with cattle grazing, and farming. As miserable as it sounds, studying, to these kids, is like a dream, yet to come true.
Another major obstacle that causes people to become illiterate is poverty. The people in the rural villages of Jumla and Niglihawa are so poor that they can't even afford a proper meal. Attending school is a whole different story for these poor people. Even when the government reduces the fee to almost negligible, kids still do not attend school. The reason, believe it or not, is making an ID card for an examination as it is unaffordable to the family.
The rise of illiteracy spawns other social issues within a community as well. The most predominant issues along with the rural areas are gender inequality, superstition, and caste discrimination. Illiteracy also is a major cause of unemployment. Due to this, it creates a vicious cycle that points back to poverty.
Illiteracy is the principal cause that both, directly and indirectly, affects the development of our nation. Eradicating this barrier will make our nation thrive. But the pressing question is: how? Perhaps we could emulate what organizations like Teach for Nepal, and the Gates Foundation is doing. We could establish schools in areas all around Nepal, and recruit skilled personnel to work for a prolonged period. The school will be free of cost with funding coming from able citizens of the nation, and outside as well. Will this work? To answer this question, here comes a supplementary question: hasn't The Hunger Project worked? or the BOMA Project? Even one good person can make a whole lot of difference in society. And, I believe, the world has more good people. There certainly is hope for Nepal to thrive as a viable Nation. And, it lies within the people of Nepal.
(Alsha Regmi is a national level tennis player of Nepal)