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CAIRN Educational Awards

The Need

  • Education in Nepal is still not compulsory or free.
  • In remote rural villages over 90% of families live agricultural subsistence lifestyles, struggling to survive on less than 50p a day.
  • For the poorest parents struggling to feed their children, the additional demand of paying for school fees, annual exam fees, uniforms, shoes and school supplies, is overwhelming.
  • Most rural families are sadly forced to choose survival over an education.


  • In Nepal children spend, on average, a total of just 2.4 years in education.
  • School attendance is sporadic for the poorest children as they must work to support their families and provide a vital source of income.
  • Girls' education is neglected. 53% are illiterate (vs 35% boys). Girls are considered secondary to boys and are expected to care for younger siblings, work on the farms, collect water and firewood, manage house-hold chores or get married. Many drop out of school before they turn 12.
  • With adult illiteracy rates being high in rural communities, parents do not see the value of encouraging their children to gain an education.
  • Pupils must repeat grades if they fail their end of year exam. Being unable to afford this cost, it is common to find children aged 9 or above still in the first school levels (Grade 1 or 2), which has a dire effect on both their educational engagement and confidence.

What is The CAIRN Trust doing?

Our Aims

  • To alleviate the financial burden of education on some of the poorest families.
  • To enable the poorest children to also gain the undeniable benefits of an education by attending school regularly.
  • To provide girls with equal opportunities and the chance to go to school.
  • To encourage parents to taken an active and supportive role in the children's education.

Our Approach

Through extensive home and school visits, we identify the poorest children within our communities whose education is most overlooked. We assist them at school by providing CAIRN's Educational Awards (CEA's) package bi-annually. This includes funding of all their school related fees, uniform, backpack and shoes and basic school supplies such as books, pencils, rubbers and pens.

We guarantee that at least 50% of CEA pupils are girls.

We support our CEA pupils and their families both at home and at school with termly mentoring from dedicated, trained local social workers, addressing the obstacles and challenges children face in gaining an education.

We monitor and evaluate the success of our beneficiaries through regular indicators such as attendance and academic data.

We address the primary health and medical needs of our pupils through worming programmes, sanitation explanations and an adequate medical fund for each child.

We acknowledge and reward the success and progress of our CEA pupils through awards for improved attendance, academic achievement and effort.

We establish Parent Teacher Associations (PTA's), broadening the communities' commitment to educating its children.

Our Results

CAIRN is currently:

  • Supporting 1200 pupils education through the programme
  • Working in 41 schools to ensure that pupils attend school regularly
  • Ensuring that over 50% of pupils going to school are girls