CEPP works with 66 schools in three adjoining VDCs of Sindhuli, Makwanpur and Rautahat (SiMaRa) districts. It started working with 16 schools of Raigaon VDC of Makwanpur phasing over to a locally-based NGO Shramjivi Yuva Manch. After some two years of work in Raigaon, it spiralled out its operation in two more VDCs of two more districts (Pipalmadi of Sindhuli and Judibela of Rautahat that has now changed to a municipality – urban area, Ward no. 7) adjoining the area of Raigaon VDC. The first two are among the middle and the last despite being bisected by the east-west highway among the low scoring districts in human development index. Schools, when we started, were among the low performing ones.
Geographically, it’s in the hinterlands of the hills and the plain – referred as inner Terai along seasonal rivers originating in Chure hills. Bagmati that borders in Pipalmadi and Raigaon are the biggest river in the area originating in higher hills. Its climate is sub-tropical or sub-temperate with four seasons: dry cold winter (Nov-Feb: night time temperature reaching under 10 Celsius), hot dry Spring (Feb-May: daytime temperature reaching close to 35 Celsius), hot wet monsoon (June-August), and pleasant autumn (Sept-Nov). It is primarily inhabited by larger indigenous groups such as Tamangs, Rai and smaller groups as Pahari and Majhi who speak a different language other than Nepali – the language of instruction in public schools. There is a small Madhesi population in Rautahat along with migrated Aryan groups from adjoining hills. Raigaon that is also said to be the Karnali of Makwanpur has seasonal vehicular access, so has Pipalmadi. Few schools can be accessed only on foot and may take as many as four hours walk.