Vitoria Subirana is a Spanish teacher, who has dedicated her life to tirelessly fighting the social inequality of children, the marginalised, the disabled and women in Nepal. Education was her tool in this battle to confront these inequalities and provoke a social change this way.
The injustices that Victoria Subirana witnessed were determining in her moving to Kathmandu in order to establish an educational project of high pedagogical quality and which would be offered for free. This project, to which she dedicates her life, is intended for children, who can’t access education in Nepal, wether it’s due to their economical situation since the education system in the country is paid, or because of any kind of ethnic and / or religious discrimination.
Victoria Subirana was born and grew up in Ripoll (Girona, 1959), where she studied and participated in the social and youth activities. She graduated in education studies at the Vic University and started to work as a teacher in Daina school in Ripoll, where she remained for 10 years.
In 1979 she begun an intense training process, participating in a variety of courses to broaden as much as possible her skills in the area of education. For example, she learnt and afterwards did a research on the educational system Decroly at the Decrolynian School in Brussels. She also worked with the Regio Emilia method in various education centres in Italy. Her training expanded even further including courses in physical expression, music and special education in different european centres. She studied “Currículum and Teaching” at the Michigan State University (EEUU) and obtained master title.
The trip to Nepal
1988 - Victoria travelled for the first time to Nepal, a country she felt intensely attracted to. Upon her arrival to Kathmandu, Vicky was very affected by the poverty and the living conditions of its citizens. The unforgettable images of the children on the streets along with the experiences she lived during this trip served as impulses for her to consider the possibility of implementing an educational project for the most disadvantaged.
1989 - She designed a work programme and studied Nepalese in Barcelona. During the same period she travelled again to Nepal to continue her cultural and linguistic education at the Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. She founded her first school, the Dorgee School, which received 32 refugee children from Tibet.
1993 - Victoria set in motion the Daleki School with the aim to meet the social, intelectual and psychological needs of the most disadvantaged members of the community. The building is situated in the old town of Kathmandu. The Daleki School started off as a Kindergarten and Primary School, growing every year as a result of the educational needs of the community. It accepted children from different ethnicities and casts of Nepal. Computer sciences, dance, music, arts, physical education and social activities formed part of the educational programme.
The Daleki School was the first school in Nepal, which integrated disabled children into the classroom of formal education. This school took 320 children in, from kindergarten through to the secondary school. Victoria also started to prepare the Montessori Series of Books: over 60 text books for all three cycles of the preschool. She meant to teach using this system through culture, history and traditions of Nepal, avoiding this way the occidental “invasion” in the area of education.
In parallel, she started up in Barcelona the "Amics de Vicki Sherpa” Association in charge of the economical support of the projects through the sponsoring of the schools.
1995 - In order to increase the literacy and the basic education of children and adults who couldn’t assist a regular course she created the Project of Un-Regulated Education, which covered basic subjects such as mathematics, English and Nepalese.
1998 - Establishing of the Family Project, an initiative created to contribute sustainability to the projects and to improve the living conditions of the families lacking resources. The top three activities of this project were: workshops for women to gain qualifications, activities to generate income through the items designed and crafted in the workshop, a convenience shop Vedfon and lastly, a system of micro credits.
Click on the image to see video
1999 - She founded her first school, Dorgee High School, where she also established a kindergarten, as there wasn’t any up until then. The childcare received in its classrooms 32 children from Tibet and refugees from Bhutan, India and of other ethnicities. The entity creates the first School for Primary School Teachers in Nepal with the aim to improve the quality of education of these professionals and an integral development of the students. The school remained closed since the regicide of the king of Nepal (2002). During this time, despite of not disposing of a physical space to do so, the education of the teachers hasn’t stopped; it continued through different training programmes, already previously planned.
Also in 1999 Victoria Subirana set in motion a Shelter for children in the situation of risk. The project was born with the arrival of Babita, an approximately 7 years old girl with physical disabilities, who has been abandoned in the middle of a market in Khatmandu. The centre offered accommodation, education and medical attention to 12 children with deficiencies, orphaned or abandoned, with no family members to take care of them. Also, it provided special psychomotricity classes with qualified professionals and it integrated these children into a regular school.
2000 - Victoria Subirana opened a second school in Kathmandu in cooperation with the Government of Catalunya and the Arquitectos Sin Fronteras. The Escuela Cataluña school started to operate and it would offer primary school classes to 180 students from the rural area of Manamaiju in the outskirts of the nepalese capital.
2002 - "Amics de Vicki Sherpa” Association became Fundación Eduqual
The same year Victoria Subirana published an autobiography “A Teacher in Kathmandu” (Aguilar, 2002), where she narrated her experiences as a teacher in this asian country
2005 - In July this year her educational method “The Transformative Pedagogy” has been registered in the Intellectual Property Register. This methodology considers mind to be the essential element in the learning process, because a lot of basic abilities depend on it to develop our vital activities, such as memory, sensory perception, concentration, balance, reasoning, capacity to relate to others, comprehension etc. In the area of the applied pedagogy this philosophy considers the mind as such to be a subject and reaching the mental maturity is regarded as a process. Because of this, the virtues, the values, the discipline and the respect towards an individual are prioritised and the same amount of time is dedicated to these matters, as to other important subjects from the curriculum.
2009 - Victoria initiated the project “Eduqual All Nepal” and became its pedagogical director (Agreement signed between the Government of Spain, the UNED (National University for Distance Learning), the Government of Nepal and the Foundation Eduqual) in order to apply the methodology of Victoria Subirana “The Transformative Pedagogy” in 30 public schools of Nepal, as well as to train the Spanish teachers in this method.
2011 - The prestigious cinema director Iciar Bollaín released the movie “Kathmandu, a mirror in the sky”, based on the story of life of Victoria Subirana, with Verónica Echegui starring.