August 10: UNICEF Nepal has welcomed the decision of Kul Chandra Gautam, former deputy executive director of UNICEF and former assistant secretary-general of the United Nations, to donate the proceeds from the sale of his new book, Global Citizen from Gulmi, to support an innovative girls’ education programme, a part of UNICEF’s ‘Let Us Learn’ initiative in educationally most deprived districts of Province 2, and the mid and far-western regions of Nepal.
Issuing a press statement, UNICEF said that the Let Us Learn (LUL) initiative aims to ensure that all children, especially the most disadvantaged, benefit from improved access, participation and learning within inclusive and protective school environments.
In Nepal, LUL supports the Government of Nepal in working with a range of girl children including girls with disabilities, out-of-school girls, girls at risk of either not enrolling in or dropping out of school, and girls living in areas at risk of emergencies.
UNICEF claimed that more than 21,000 girls have been able to enter or return to schools over the last six years due to this programme.
“Nepal has seen significant improvements in access to education across the country over the last few decades. However, this progress is not equally shared among different groups and regions in the country. A large number of children are still unable to access schools and learn due to barriers related to their gender, socio-economic status, geographical location, physical and intellectual ability,” the statement quoted Gautam as saying.
“I remain committed as ever to support the Nepal’s continuous efforts in ensuring that the country meets the Sustainable Development Goal of providing inclusive education for all,” he added.
In addition, Gautam will also be donating the prize money from his 2018 Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award conferred by the US National Peace Corps Association’s to this girls’ education project through UNICEF Nepal.
“We are extremely thankful to Mr Gautam for his unflagging commitment and support to improving the lives of children in Nepal and worldwide,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative to Nepal. “The generous support from Mr Gautam will contribute to the goal of a quality education for every child.”
Global Citizen from Gulmi recounts the personal journey of Gautam. It is an inspiring story of a young boy born in a remote village in the Gulmi district of Nepal where there was no school, road or electricity but who went on to join the highest ranks of the United Nations.
Spanning three decades, the book recounts pivotal moments in modern history from the Khmer Rouge’s brutal regime in Cambodia to the turbulent times of Haiti’s dictatorship. It provides first-hand account of UNICEF’s efforts to help children in the midst of great humanitarian crises in Africa, the debt crisis in Latin America, Asia’s economic crisis, and the transition of Eastern Europe after the collapse of Communism.
According to UNICEF, Gautam also provides fascinating anecdotes of meetings with leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and Bill Gates - all to promote the cause of child survival and development.