I just got back from the Evangelical Press Association conference in Nashville where I found out that I won a third place award for a story I photographed last year! Exciting news! Of course, I would have loved to have taken home the first place prize, but I was truly honored that I was in such amazing company. The second place prize went to Miracles in Mozambique (photographed by Gary Gnidovic and published in Christianity Today), and the first place prize went to Famine No More (photographed by Jon Warren and published in World Vision magazine) — two great photographers that I am always looking up to! For me it was even exciting to see that only ONE point separated all of us. So, I thought I would share the feature with you. I have placed the captions with the photos to give some insight into the story.
The classroom in Nepal is often filled with fear and intimidation; teachers feel unprepared and lack necessary training and tools, and students are afraid of the harsh discipline often found at school. In the midst of these difficult circumstances, a Kathmandu-based organization offers help and hope.
WARM WELCOME – EQUIP teacher Ona LaMotte gives a warm greeting to the students upon arriving at Bhrikuti Namuna Primary School. She is modeling the type of friendly behavior that EQUIP hopes will be emulated by Nepalese teachers.
NEW EXPERIENCE – Standing in front of a classroom full of children can be intimidating for teachers who have never received any formal training. Lakshmi is eager to learn new skills that she can use with her students, such as learning through play.
RURAL EDUCATION – (top) Most schools in Nepal are small buildings where the sparse, unheated classrooms contain chalkboards on the wall, simple desks, and few teaching materials. (bottom) The Kathmandu International Study Centre (KISC), a large Christian school with high academic standards, started EQUIP to provide local teachers with new classroom techniques as a way to create healthy learning environments.
CREATIVE CURRICULUM – (top) Up-to-date resources are scarse in Nepal, so the curriculum is a varied mix of older and newer books in English and other languages for many different age levels. (bottom) LaMotte provides a school principal with new curriculum, which EQUIP funded and created with the help of local teachers.
TEACHER – (left) This teacher from Bhrikuti Primary School enjoys the new teaching methods and sees the difference the fun lessons make when she gets positive responses from her students.
STUDENT – (right) Just a few years ago, students like this fifth-grade girl from Bhrikuti Primary School would not have had the opportunity to get an education. Now there is a good possibility that she will stay in school and graduate.
FULLY ENGAGED – (top) LaMotte shows teachers how to use a Dr. Seuss book to fully engage their students in learning. The simple language and bright colors of this book will immediately draw students in to a lesson. (bottom) This classroom, located in the town of Dadeldhura, is now a happy, lively place where the students are excited about learning.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS – (top) Before LaMotte leaves the school, she spends one-on-one time with teachers, offering advice and encouragement about the day’s lessons. (bottom) Meeting with teachers on a weekly basis provides LaMotte a great opportunity to strengthen her friendships with the women.
LIGHT THROUGH THE FOG – Fog rolls into the foothills of the Himalayas during the monsoon season, enveloping the school in a misty cloud. But the lessons of love, compassion, and encouragement taught by EQUIP shine a bright light through these classrooms right into the hearts and minds of the teachers, students, and community.