Karuna Girls College

Help young women develop a confident voice and become leaders in their community by investing in their education

Karuna Girls College students laughing with arms up in celebration. They are wearing their uniforms, in front of sign saying "Karuna Girls College, Centre for Women's Liberation. Educating & Empowering Women to be Change-Makers of their Society"

Location

Lumbini, Nepal

Costs

$300 CAD covers a full year of a girl's tuition

$200 CAD covers a month of a teacher's salary

Summary

The Karuna Girls College provides an alternative and inclusive all-girl environment where young women of any religion, caste, and social class can meet and learn. It opened its doors in June 2013 with a modest enrollment of 25 students. Today, more than 320 girls attend the school. 

In poor traditional families, girls are not expected to continue their education past elementary school. They are often pressured or forced into marriages, with some girls married as young as ten. Parents have to pay large dowries to get their daughters married, and thus girls are seen as a burden on the family. After marriage, girls are expected to live with and take care of their husband's family, which prevents them from continuing their studies. They face a life beginning with teenage pregnancy, minimal education, poverty, and forced labour, only to have their own children and perpetuate this cycle.

Lumbini is also less than one hour by car from the Indian border, and is a well-known route for human trafficking. UNICEF has identified the Lumbini area in Nepal as one of the most critical zones for girls’ discrimination and child marriage problems. According to UNICEF's 2019 report, 42% of girls in the Lumbini province have not attended school beyond the lower basic level (grades 1-5). According to the same study, the female literacy rate in rural Lumbini is only 58%, compared to a 73% literacy rate amongst men. In low-income families, educating girls is seen as wasted time.

 

The lack of girls’ education contributes to several systemic problems, such as:

 

  • Female repression

  • Greed and corruption

  • Lack of basic health

  • Severe malnutrition

  • Lack of family hygiene

  • Over-population

  • Ignored medical care

  • High infant/mother mortality rates

Karuna Girls College provides education from grade 6 to grade 12 levels. Apart from offering English, Math, Science and other academic subjects, the school also teaches essential life skills such as nutrition, family planning, agriculture, and environmental awareness. The college currently has an E-library with 600 books and videos. The girls are even having lots of fun forming a soccer team!

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