In 2014 and 2015 the Boris and Ināra Teterev Foundation supported a Bridge School Program in Nepal, implemented in cooperation with Global Fairness Initiative. The Bridge School Program (BSP) was implemented in five brick kilns initially and later expanded into 23 brick kilns after July 2015. It was launched to support kilns in providing education to children who came to kilns with their parents.
The program, in close coordination with the Nepal’s Department of Education, District Education Offices in the program districts, and the local Community Schools’ Management Committees, has worked to provide a safe learning environment for children below 5 years old, provided school linkage to children between the ages of 6-14, and engaged children who needed extra academic and social support through after school programs at the learning centers. The program was instrumental in detaching children from the brick-making process and connecting or reconnecting them with educational opportunity.
Through the Early Childcare and Education Centers (ECECs), small children, who would otherwise be playing around the kilns during work time and drawn into work, were provided with a safe learning environment and nutritious food. Through the School Linkage Program, the majority of children were able to be detached from labor and connected to schools where what they studied would be recognized in their source village schools so that they would not have to repeat the same grade.
Facilitators and the mobile teachers went routinely to each Jayuli (the temporary residence of brick workers constructed at the kiln) to gather children, and compliance facilitators walked through the brick making, carrying, loading and unloading areas of the kiln to ensure that children were in school and not on the worksite. They worked to address the unique needs of these children, who are the poorest of the poor and lead a migrant lifestyle, often with illiterate parents.
The program substantially increased the impact, expanding from initial five kilns to 23. On the second year, 877 children have been identified by staff, 419 of which will attend nearby schools and 363 of which will attend ECECs located on the kilns.