Literacy for Nepal (LFN) was founded in 2008 by two St. Lawrence students. One of the founders, Brijlal Chaudhari, was born and raised in Nepal and graduated from SLU in 2010. His experiences at SLU encouraged him to create an organization that would allow Nepali youth to engage in higher levels of education by providing them with more educational opportunities. In 2010, LFN members received a grant to travel to a small village in Nepal called Nichuta located about 100 miles south of Kathmandu in Parsa District. SLU students helped construct a library that is now fully furnished with books, periodicals and sports equipment for the adjacent school to use. In addition, LFN started a high school in Pakhna-Mainpur, which enables local children to receive an education without traveling to costly urban schools.
LFN is connected to the organization Sano Paila (A Little Step). This organization is based in Burgunj, Nepal near the Indian border. Sano Paila works to reduce poverty in rural Nepal by improving the "economic, social & environmental conditions, thereby reducing poverty and injustice in rural Nepal." Brijlal Chaudhari works for Sano Paila and helps manage our scholarship funds in Nepal by facilitating the selection of scholars and distributing funds. He also helps us organize new projects and is our eyes and ears for what we can do to improve our efforts in Nepal.
We remain in strong contact with Brijlal who acts as our liaison between SLU and the Nepali community. We are in touch through email and often Skype with him to hear about new projects and to get progress updates on how the scholars are doing with their academics. Three LFN members joined the faculty advisor on a SLU CIIS Research Grant during the winter of 2013 when they traveled to Nepal to research the effects of labor migration and how remittances affect education in Nepal. The group was able to visit the LFN library in Nichuta as well as meet some of the current scholars. LFN is in the process of writing a Project for Peace grant where they hope to receive funding to build a school for untouchables in rural Nepal.
On campus, LFN hosts fundraisers throughout the year in order to raise money that goes directly towards the scholarships we currently fund. In the past, LFN has held a benefit concert at Java, a 5k run, documentary showings, and Nepali dinners in theme houses among many other projects. LFN hopes to educate the SLU community about the challenges of the education system in Nepal. All funds raised go directly towards funding the scholarships for Nepali students. Each year up to ten students have been sponsored. One of our current scholars, Anju, is in the process of receiving her Community Medical Assistant degree which will allow her to work as a nurse in her community, working as the only female to provide medical services for the community members.