The conversation about Nepal’s development does not include a lot about our history and culture. Many Nepalis, without generalization, seem to know about other countries than our own. School education is also focused on English and the world because many parents believe that this may lead to employability and jobs around the world.
Today one finds that many young people have made the seven world heritage sites of the Kathmandu valley as one of their favorite hangouts. There is tea, coffee, momos and safe space with many people all around. A quick scan shows that the young would like to know more about their heritage and history and use their phones to share it with the rest of the world.
Many years ago with the support from UNESCO, the heritage passport campaign was launched for “young” people and was really popular. We were able to train many young college students as heritage guides to take school children to these globally unique monument zones. There were coloring books and background reading materials that went with the campaign. Today these young men and women care about their identity and heritage and are taking local action to preserve these sites and other smaller monuments, wells, water spouts around the valley.
The earthquake of 2015 destroyed many monuments in Nepal including the seven monuments zones in the Kathmandu valley. The recovery work has been very encouraging and it has exposed the creativity and ability of our artists. Young people need to go visit these sites and learn about the history, restoration and meet the artists to keep up this work as a living tradition. For this purpose, the heritage passport campaign will be a good catalyst to get young people out of the classroom and into our monument zones.