On July 5, 2013, the Ban Landmines Campaign Nepal (NCBL) celebrated its 18th anniversary. To mark the occasion, NCBL hosted staff, members, and students for a celebratory event of speeches, cultural performances and – of course – birthday cake! Over the past 18 years, NCBL has won many victories: from mobilizing survivors for the government’s admission of landmine use, to the incorporation of ban landmine clauses in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, to successful clearance of 53 landmine fields and 341 fields of improvised explosive devices – there is much to be celebrated. For visual highlights of the past 18 years, visit our online photo album: 18 Years of NCBL.
NCBL also took this important day to distribute a total of 19 scholarships to conflict-affected girls in the Kathmandu area through its Girl Child Education Program, a joint initiative with the Women and Development Society (WODES). The children, whose ages range from 9 to 17 and grades from 3 to 10, each received a full scholarship to cover their school fees as well as uniforms and a backpack filled with a year’s supply of school materials.
Conflict-affected girls face multiple forms of discrimination that put them at a high-risk of being denied the right to education. The first are gender barriers, including early marriage and the lower priority placed on girls’ education due to enduring gender perceptions and the domestic role of women. Conflict-affected girls face additional challenges. Those who have suffered psychological and physical disabilities through conflict are often left behind by a school system that is struggling to regain its footings in a post-conflict environment. More, still, are impacted by the scars that war has left on parents, whose injuries prevent them from regaining a sustainable livelihood and whose medical costs place undue financial burden on the family.
NCBL believes that peace and reconstruction starts with children. To deny conflict-affected girls the right to education is to deny Nepal of its next generation of female leaders. The Girl Child Education Program began with one child in 1998; this year, NCBL and WODES will support more than 175 girls across 20 districts in Nepal. Past graduates of the Girl Child Education scholarships (pictured above) have returned to NCBL as youth leaders and volunteers. They had a chance to meet and speak with this year’s recipients, sharing words of encouragement and solidarity. For more information on the program, please visit the Girl Child Education page.
“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” – Mahatma Gandhi