Education Support to VMLRs
A participant of Education option participating in a child club activity
As part of UNIRP, UNICEF has been providing education support to Verified Minors
and Late Recruits (VMLRs) in 48 districts through its Children Associated with Armed
Forces and Armed Groups (CAAFAG) network. Education Support is one of the rehabilitation
options designed to assist VMLRs resume their schooling, either back in their own
community or in a chosen place of study away from their homes
This option offers both Open and Formal Education to participants in the programme.
Formal EducationFormal Education takes place through the local
Government school from Primary to Higher Secondary Level (Grade 12).
Open Educationis flexible, allowing students to appear for their
Grade 8 and 10 exams after attending an agreed number of hours at school and upon
completion of course work.
Education Support is offered for a maximum of four years. Support to Government
schools and Community Colleges include admission fees, school fees, school uniform,
tuition fees and stationery. The participants receive a monthly stipend of 1,800
Nepali Rupees for the first two years of their studies. Students who for various
reasons, such as protection issues or stigmatisation, cannot stay at home but live
away from their families, receive an additional 2,200 Nepali Rupees to assist in
accommodations. Extra coaching is provided to help prepare for exams and to catch
up with other students in the class. The programme also sponsors one vulnerable
child from the community for every two VMLRs enrolled in school to encourage community
support towards the programme. Educational support, in the form of a grant of 7,000
Nepali Rupees, is provided to schools to use for the enhancement of school facilities
(educational materials, libraries, toilets and drinking water) and to directly benefit
all students in the school.
Participation of Women
The high level of participation of women in the education training programme has
been a key indicator of success in the interagency integrated approach of UNIRP.
With the aid of psychosocial, socioeconomic and gender-based support, as well as
through counselling and peacebuilding activities, female VMLRs have been guided
in making informed choices about their future. They are encouraged, alongside their
spouses and male members of the community, to play a part in the community as civilians.
Support for young male VMLR’s has helped them to overcome inadequacies in literacy
skills and fear of stigmatisation, allowing them to work alongside their wives to
foster better community and family relationships. Many are now on their way to completing
their Grade 12 exams.
Working with implementing partnerswithin the local community, NGO’s
and Government local offices, the education support option has provided an opportunity
to establish a basis of trust, open up healthy debate and deal with issues of stress
and unease felt on both sides of the community. VMLRs are given an opportunity to
reintegrate into the community and work with their peers as forces of change in
working towards a lasting peace.
“I miss those days I spent with my PLA friends, but I am happier now as I could
continue my study with the help of the programme”, Sita, age 20, a student of Grade