Nepal: Martyrs Memorial Residential School
Posted by D and I Consulting on August 6, 2011
Special thanks to Thomas Van Beersum and Krishna Tamu for this report.
“Of course the students that have lost their fathers and mothers have experienced very hard times. In a society where there are many difficulties, where there is massive exploitation and oppression it is a good thing that the Martyrs Foundation Nepal, the UCPN(M) and the teachers have taken their time and effort to help the children.”
Martyrs Memorial Residential School
The people’s war has achieved great accomplishments, but it also has seen many comrades who have become martyrs in their heroic struggle. The Martyrs Memorial School was established to give education to the children of the people who have given their bodies for the sake of the nation, and the ones who have become disappeared, injured and disabled during the people’s war.
All over Nepal there are 5 Martyrs Memorial Schools where there is place for 1400 students in total. These schools are run by the Martyrs Foundation Nepal. I made a visit to one of these schools in Pokhara. When I arrived the students had just finished their exams and they were playing on the playgrounds and watching television.
Currently there are 227 students in this Martyrs Memorial School. 213 of them are residents there, only 14 come from outside. The ones from outside are financially very weak, that’s why they are brought here. The school does not only give them education, but the students are also able to talk about their experiences so they can understand why their parents have sacrificed their lives.
The Martyrs Memorial School was established in 2066/01/16 BS (still need to add western date) from where they started to teach the children in rented buildings. The main school buildings were built from 2066/02/21 BS (western date) until when they were inaugurated by former Prime Minister and UCPN(M) chairman Prachanda on 2066/11/14 BS (western date). After that the children have been staying in hostels and they were being taught in the new buildings.
About 2.5 hectares of area is covered by the school. This consists of the main teaching buildings, the hostels, the kitchen and dining area, a playground, barns to keep cows and pigs, a guardian house, a vegetable field where organic vegetables are produced and many other places.
Fees are not allowed in the school. The students do not pay for their education. All services are free. There is free food, lodging, medicines, clothes, etc. All these services are made widely available for the children. There is a drinking water facility, electricity, sanitation, roads and different forms of communication. The environment is clean and peaceful.
Most of the children reside in the hostels. There are 6 helpers who produce and cook the food (vegetables, milk, meat) and who wash the clothes of the children. This school is very different compared to other types of schools. The students go to the farm, they do most of the activities themselves. Like washing dishes, bathing and other things.
After Kindergarten there are 7 grades. The students are taught in English medium. At most the classroom is filled with 40 students, the lowest is 12. In total there are about 9 teachers, 1 accountant and 1 medical assistant. A scientific type of education is being taught. It is mainly focused on practical life rather than on theoretical matter.
There are 8 different subjects that can be followed. In junior level they have English, Math and Science. But during senior level they can follow Nepali, English, English Grammar (this is a separate subject), and Science but also subjects like Population, Moral Science and Prevocational education.
A computer lab with 13 computers is made available from class 2. Where they will learn how to use different programs and soon there will even be internet. There is a gym in the school where the children can play football, volleyball and sometimes even cricket. Martial Arts training is also given.
The school is being run by the Martyrs Foundation Nepal, an organization which consists of 7 members. All of them are members of the Unified Communist Party Nepal (Maoist). The chairman of the Martyrs Foundation Nepal is UCPN(M) central committee secretary Posta Bahadur Bogati ‘Diwakar’, who has lost his only son during the people’s war.
Hitraj Pandey ‘Uttam is the Chairman of the school’s management committee, the Vice-Chairman of the Martyrs Foundation Nepal, a politburo member of the UCPN(M) and the Tamuwan state committee Incharge (“Chief”). Other members of the Martyrs Foundation Nepal are from the Great Martyrs’ Family Society of People’s Revolution, Disappeared Warriors’ Family of People’s Revolution, Disabled Warriors of People’s Revolution Nepal and the central committee of the UCPN(M).
The Martyrs Memorial Foundation receives money from the Nepali Government, the Constituent Assembly members of the UCPN(M) and from the UCPN(M) itself. They use this money to finance all of the Martyrs Memorial Residential Schools around Nepal. The schools are located in all of the 5 development regions.
Every year on Baisakh 16 (April 29) there is something called parents’ day. That day all of the guardians of the students gather and discuss about the school issues and its future plans. There are currently plans to create a fish pond and there is a plan to add one class every year to eventually make the Martyrs Memorial School a higher secondary school (up to class 12).
Of course the students that have lost their fathers and mothers have experienced very hard times. In a society where there are many difficulties, where there is massive exploitation and oppression it is a good thing that the Martyrs Foundation Nepal, the UCPN(M) and the teachers have taken their time and effort to help the children.
One thing I noticed was that I did not see a sad or frowning face. Although the children have gone through traumatic things, they still enjoy playing games, doing sports or learning new stuff in school. There are still many difficulties for them, there is rampant poverty, the conditions they are in are very backward. The children are still waiting for a better future, a future that their parents have given their lives for. This can only be a realized through a socialist revolution.