In Nepal, learning levels are incredibly low, with one in three children unable to read and write by age seven. The devastating earthquake in 2015 damaged the country’s education system irreparably, destroying over 50,000 classrooms and leaving 3.5 million people homeless. This disruption to learning was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic just five years later, which saw over eight million children out of school during nationwide lockdowns.
According to UNICEF, 1 in 4 primary-aged children and over 50% of secondary-aged children in Nepal do not attend school. As well as working to support themselves or their families, children and young people are missing out on education for many reasons; from not having the required legal identity documents to enrol to social exclusion because of gender, caste, disability, and more.
Lack of education and illiteracy can affect children’s futures in many ways. Children who are not educated are more likely to marry or have children early. They are less likely to find safe and secure employment and are at higher risk of exploitation and abuse.
Fundamentally, not having access to education disempowers children by denying them the opportunities and protection they deserve. This, for many, results in a cycle of poverty that limits their future opportunities beyond life on the streets.