Functional Literacy Class teaches Rautahat girl the importance of education

After attending the KOICA supported UNESCO Functional Literacy Class programme, Komal Kumari Sah, 15, says she’s inspired to empower other girls through education. “I believe that all girls should have an education,” she says. “I want to be involved in similar programs in the future so that I can motivate other girls to study.”

Komal participated in the literacy classes held near her home in Rajpur Farhadawa Municipality in 2019.

By the time Sah reached Grade 6, classes at her local school were being repeatedly cancelled because of teacher absenteeism. She had to stay home, with only household chores to do. She lost interest in her studies and dropped out altogether in 2017.

However, when the Functional Literacy Class (FLC) programme was due to be held close to her home in 2019, her mother encouraged her to attend. Knowing that a neighbour was facilitating the programme helped allay her scepticism about joining. “I already knew Ms Phuljhari Sah, so I knew it was going to be okay.”

Sah found the classes engaging – the subjects she was introduced to in them were new to her, and learning to advocate for her own education, recognize and report gender-based violence, pay attention to her own reproductive health and address health concerns has made her feel empowered. She also learned about sexual exploitation and human trafficking and how to protect herself against them.

“I regretted quitting school – I felt I had wasted two years of my life,” Sah says. The most important thing that she learned in the FLC programme was the importance of continuing her education. “The class has inspired me to resume my studies.”

She asked her parents to enrol her into school again. They were sceptical because she had dropped out before, but with newfound confidence, she convinced them that she was committed.

“If I had not enrolled in the FLC, I would not have been motivated to go back to school,” she says. Involvement with the programme has already opened up new opportunities for Sah. In 2020, she participated in a radio programme organized by UNESCO where she got to interact with local leaders and stakeholders from her district and ask them questions on youth issues like health and education.

“While it was exciting, I was also nervous because I had never spoken on the radio before,” she explains. The experience helped her to overcome her fear of public speaking. “By the end of the programme, my fear was gone. I have become more confident now.”

The FLC has been very good to me. I used to think that I was a poor student, but now I know that I am a good student and can do well. The programme has improved my life. I am confident that I will do well in the future.
Komal Kumari Sah, Rauthat

She now hopes to spread the knowledge she has learned to other girls like her.

About the UNESCO-UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme

“Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through the Provision of Comprehensive Sexuality Education and a Safe Learning Environment in Nepal” is a Joint Programme led by UNESCO, UNFPA, and UN Women with support from KOICA aiming to empower girls and young women through an integrated approach to education, health, and gender equality. For more inquiries, contact the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu at