To get to the Bagwana school in the Parsa district of Nepal, we fly 20 minutes in a tiny plane from Kathmandu to the south of the country. After that, it is another a one-hour drive along a rough road to reach the village where the school is. It is not the easiest of places to get to. But that is exactly the point.
We are here to visit children and adolescent girls involved in the Let Us Learn programme, a UNICEF education initiative targeting the most marginalized children, focusing specifically on the hardest to reach. These boys and girls live in remote areas and face multiple barriers to receiving an education.
As we arrive, villagers, children, school headmasters and district education officials welcome us, painting our foreheads with tika – a reddish orange powder. Music and singing follow us down the path as children place vibrant orange marigold garlands around our necks. By the time we enter the main school yard for the official welcome and introductions, our necks are overflowing with garlands. We then proceed to walk around the school yard to meet students involved in Let Us Learn after-school programmes.