Whilst availability of education is something we often take for granted in the UK, life isn’t so simple or easy in many other countries around the world. Some children walk for miles to get to school every day whilst here it’s all about catchment areas, who’s doing the school run and Offsted reports. In rural Nepal, parents have to choose between sending their offspring away to get an education or consigning them to a life of poverty. Zara Balfour and Marcus Stephenson’s new documentary, Children of the Snow Land, tells their story.
The High Himalayas is a remote area of immense natural beauty. However, life is hard and there is no real future outside of eking out a living from the land. Children as young as four are sent hundreds of miles away to Kathmandu to study at a school run by a Buddhist monk. Their parents just want to give them a better life but it’s hard for the children to be separated at such an early age. When they graduate at sixteen, they have to make the difficult return journeys to their isolated villages. Children of the Snow Land follows their journey.
The aim of Children of the Snow Land is to highlight the plight of parents in rural Nepal who have to make a heartbreaking decision no parent should have to face. There are several schools is the capital which cater for children from poor isolated communities. Using footage filmed by the children themselves, we’re given a sense of what life is like in these small colonies. In a world as advanced as ours, everyone should receive a free education without being cut-off from their family. Children of the Snow Land aims to help this become a reality.
Children of the Snow Land is out in UK Cinemas and On Demand from 14 March.