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Finns shed kilos to fund education in Nepal

Adipose and education have found a common platform at the Embassy of Finland in Nepal. Seventeen employees of the embassy shed 82 kilograms over past three months and generated 1230 Euros (NRs 123,000) to improve education in Nepal.

world Updated: May 24, 2010 16:52 IST
Utpal Parashar

Adipose and education have found a common platform at the Embassy of Finland in Nepal.

Seventeen employees of the embassy shed 82 kilograms over past three months and generated 1230 Euros (NRs 123,000) to improve education in Nepal.

They are not alone. As part of a unique campaign by an anonymous Finnish donor, 23,500 Finns in Finland and worldwide are losing weight with the same motive.

Called Lose Weight for Literacy (LWL), the campaign launched this January, has dual goals of making Finns healthier and increase literacy rate in Nepal.

The donor has promised to give 15 Euros (nearly 1500 NRs) for every kilogram lost by Finnish citizens. The campaign hopes to muster 10 million Euros towards educating Nepalese children.

Estimates show that 15 Euros can help procure a year’s school books for one child or buy a blackboard and a year’s supply of chalk pencils.

Coordinated by Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, participants weighed-in at Finnish Lutheran church parishes till the end of February. They have to record their weight loss figures on May 30.

“This is a unique initiative that combines major national health public health action and development cooperation,” Pekka Puska, Director General of the institute was quoted in a statement.

The total fat loss and the money generated would be calculated by mid June and the accumulated amount sent to Nepal through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It would require 133,000 Finns to lose an average of five kilos each to muster the 10 million Euros promised by the donor.

“The maximum sum promised by the donor….is unlikely to be reached,” said a statement issued by the Embassy of Finland in Nepal.

With a literacy rate of 63 percent, Nepal figures among countries with very low literacy. Figures for school infrastructure, student-teacher ratio and dropouts are also poor.

“We are extremely thankful for the help of the anonymous Finn. The money received would be included in next year’s budget,” the Kathmandu Post quoted Nepal Finance Secretary Rameshwor Khanal as saying.