Khagendra Satyal from Tasmania has contributed to this report.
“An elderly grandparent had arrived in Australia from Nepal to visit his grandchildren. Communication wasn’t a big problem when the parents were around – however, when both parents left for work, the grandfather was unable to communicate with his grandchildren. The grandfather wouldn’t understand English, and the grandchildren wouldn’t understand Nepali. That was when the need for a Nepali language school (Bhasalaya) was realised”. This is what Om Kumar Magar of Launceston, Tasmania, co-ordinator of Nepali Bhasalaya had to say about the inception of the school two years ago.
“Santosh Adhikari was present then – it was he who started the project. The concept of the school was brought forward by Nabaraj Mudwari. Slowly, we also joined the project. Joining as a teacher, today I serve as its president. The Nepali language school’s opening ceremony was also attendeby by Albert Van Zetten, Mayor of Launceston, which added further enthusiasm within the community”, Magar recollects memories of 2018.
Today, the school organises a 2 hour session class every week – first hour visits various subjects such as Geography, Culture, Language, and Music. The second hour is dedicated for dance classes. 35 students actively participate in the school’s program.
Diaspora communities, an intrinsic part of multicultural Australia actively seek to impart cultural values and language to their children – and therefore Bhasalaya helps the Nepali Community in Northern Tasmania to help reflect the true values of multiculturalism.
Initiated as a voluntary project, Bhasalaya today has further volunteers and is assisted by Prem Bhattarai and Kala Pathak. Launeston City Council has provided the school an AUD 5,000 grant through which they purchase essential study materials for students, pay rent for the school hall, and insurance of participants.
The Bhasalaya charges an AUD 100 registration fee, however all services are free after that.
Bhasalaya is also planning to bring in Nepali language textbooks and hosting internal discussions to build a curriculum.
Students of Bhasalaya participate in a classroom session. Image: Khagendra Satyal