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Last Updated: Wed, 10.10.12 9:15

NNDSWO celebrates 20 Years of enhancing access to education for Dalit Children

Nepal National Dalit Social Welfare Organization (NNDSWO), a leading Dalit rights organization, organised a special event on Tuesday to celebrate the 20th year of its Nepal Children Scholarship Endowment Program.

U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Peter W. Bodde, who attended the special event, said, "We would like to pledge our continued support for initiatives that ensure equality and inclusion of socially disadvantaged groups at all levels of society. We are proud to be part of a program that has ensured a brighter future for thousands of Dalit children."

This Nepal Children Scholarship Endowment Program, which started in 1992, was supported by the U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with an initial grant of $600,000.

According to a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, the goal of the program was to enhance access to education, especially providing scholarship, literacy classes and vocational training opportunities for orphans, poor and disabled children of Dalit and ethnic minority communities in Nepal. To date, more than 5,000 students-58 percent of whom are female-have received the scholarship. Of those, 1,208 have completed secondary education; 217 completed higher education; 145 students received a scholarship for technical education; and some have become doctors and engineers.

Continuing its more than 50 years of partnership with Nepal, over the last five years USAID has invested nearly 200 million U.S. dollars here, and works with many nongovernmental organizations like NNDSWO to cement the country's recent gains in peace and security, strengthen the delivery of essential social services, and address the global challenges of food insecurity and climate change. In each of these areas, there is a special focus on supporting Nepal's traditionally excluded groups (including Dalits and other marginalized groups, as well as women), which are critical to sustaining peace and ensuring a prosperous society for all. nepalnews.com