A delegation from Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, has officially opened two community centers in Nepal.
The ongoing project,launched in 2014, is aimed at empowering youth and providing information and communications technology (ICT) facilities designed to help eliminate ICT barriers.The project,developed in partnership with READ Global and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will serve an estimated 100,000 people, including 35,000 from four rural districts throughout central and western Terai.
With a special focus on ICT skills, the project aims to establish and upgrade 11 community centers overall, creating educational, social, and economic opportunities for communities, with a special focus on youth. The project aligns with Qatar Foundation’s ambition to help unlock human potential by providing opportunities for young people. The delegation, led by ROTA’s Director of Quality, Impact, & Strategy, Abdulla Al-Abdulla, opened the Deukhuri Community Library and Resource Center (CLRC) in the Dang District, and the Kalika CLRC Center in the Bardiya District on 5thand 6thMarch respectively.
“Through this project, ROTA intends to expand living and educational resources for communities and the youth in particular. This is in line with our mission to engage young people and diverse community members in order to address educational and developmental challenges both at home and abroad,” Al-Abdulla said.
The two new centers are owned and operated by the local communities they benefit, and provide free access to a wide variety of resources. This includes a library and a range of ICT tools,as well as educational toys, sports, and books for children and young people. Each center has also formed a youth leadership subcommittee so that the local young people can have a say in what kind of program and resources are offered at the center. The first center to benefit as part of the delegation is the Deukhuri CLRC, which was constructed in 2015 in Gadhawa village in the Rapti Zone of the mid-western region of Nepal, where 68% of a total population of 12,453 are literate.In partnership with READ Global, ROTA has provided financial aid in the region of QAR455,000 to support the four-year program,which will run from 2014 to 2017.
The second center to prosper from the ROTA delegation is Kalika CLRC, which is located in Kalika village in the Bheri Zone, also in the mid-western region of Nepal. The village is home to a population of 15,910 and has a literacy rate of 86%. ROTA has provided QAR 601,606 to improve local infrastructure, provide training, enhance education, support ICT development, build center capacity, and create alternative energy power resources.
The project budget is segregated into two main components. The first component, which features an infrastructural scale up, includes enterprise management and building construction. The second component is reserved for ICT equipment and technology improvements, which includes the operation and training of the library management committee. Funding is also allocated to elevating computer literacy, enhancing professional development, influencing women's empowerment, raising health awareness, and facilitating other requests based on the needs of the local community.Ms. Tina Sciabica, Executive Director of READ Global, said: “Through our partnership with ROTA, with whom we share a common vision of educating children and young people, we seek to facilitate sustainable enterprises that address community needs and offer training programs in livelihood skills, literacy, health, and technology to serve local communities.”
As an initiative committed to supporting programs that provide communities with access to information over the long-term, Ms. Sciabica added: “We believe that public libraries serve a vital function because they enable people to improve their present lives and those of generations to come.” The newly inaugurated centers will focus on creating livelihood opportunities for youth and local women through vocational and life skills training, as well as leadership development programs. Regular sports programs will also continue to be an integral part of the Nepalese initiative.