UN World Food Programme

Nepal: Age No Bar For Learning

Nandakala reading her school book in front of her home.

Photo: WFP/Sikha Thapa

Seventy-year-old Nandakala Singh, who receives WFP School Meals, proves that age is just a number when one has the heart to learn.

Nandakala Singh, 70 years old, studies in grade three at Sri Balkalyan Primary school in Ruma village on a hilly district of Dailekh in Mid-western Nepal. 

Nandakala entertained thoughts of studying as she took her grandson to the school everyday.  
 
The school principal, at first, refused to admit her because of her old age. Then a local government official convinced the principal that there is no age limit if somebody is interested to learn.
 
When she first joined the classes, Nandakala attracted curious glances from children but now she has successfully befriended most of them.
 
“All the children in school call me ‘grandma',” she says. “With so many children around me, I feel like a child when I am at the school.”
 
She gets 'Haluwa' – a freshly cooked porridge given to children as a mid-day meal under WFP’s School Meals Programme. She also gets to take home two liters of oil every month under the Girls’ Incentive Programme.
 
“I am very happy. Besides learning to read and write, I also get food and oil for attending the class,” shares Nandakala, who lives with her 12-year-old grandson in a small hut made of straw and mud.
 
“I can now recognize numbers, English and Nepali alphabets and even speak a few words in English,” she proudly says.