American-Nepali Students’ and Women’s Educational Relief

By Nicole McConvery


American-Nepali Students’ and Women’s Educational Relief (ANSWER) is a nonprofit, non-partisan, non-religious organization that empowers low-caste children through education.

Defining education as more than basic literacy, ANSWER makes a commitment to each child it works with through academic and career counseling, offering continued support for upwards of 9 years.

In essence, ANSWER answers the call for real change in Nepal, one child at a time, by introducing disadvantaged youth to quality education.

Supported by 30 UU congregations in the United States, including 400 UU members who directly sponsor children, ANSWER’s mission is to holistically educate children from the lowest castes, providing them with the skills and confidence needed to pursue lifelong careers; these children, in turn, become the vanguard for much needed change in Nepal, pushing for universal, compulsory education in their own communities.

Since its founding, ANSWER has worked with over 500 children in 100 schools and colleges throughout Nepal. Of their 80 students that have taken the high school graduation exam, all 80 have successfully passed and gone on to college and into sustainable careers. Currently, ANSWER has one of its college graduates on staff in Nepal, with the imminent hiring of another of the program's graduates on the horizon.

ANSWER is entirely non-profit, paying for its own administration through separate donations and fundraisers. Donations to student education go 100% towards student support.

A child’s education for one year costs $280 per year, approximately $5 per week. This includes everything needed for school: tuition & fees, 2 uniforms, 2 pairs of shoes, book bag, books, notebooks, paper & pencils, etc. And as needed: lunches, transportation, and extra after-hours tutorials. The schools are paid directly and get an exact accounting of each child’s expenditures.

ANSWER believes that their students will be among the new leaders in Nepal as they represent the largest educated group from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are like no other generation before them: they understand and are eager to forge a more level, more democratic playing field for future generations. The caste system will take many years to overcome, but through the supported educational initiatives of ANSWER, change, from the inside out, is already underway.

ANSWER's Executive Director, James Earle Canfield, an active member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), explains how the program works in the following video. Learn how your congregation can get involved today!