Drawing Out Migration: Rural to Urban Transitions and the Re-imagined Futures of Himalayan School Children

Sarah Burack, Geoff Childs, Elizabeth A. Quinn, Jhangchuk Sangmo, Jean Hunleth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This chapter documents the rural to urban migration experiences of children and adolescents from Nubri, a culturally and linguistically Tibetan enclave in the highlands in Nepal, to boarding schools in Kathmandu. The authors explore three themes through the students’ own drawings and explanations: (1) difficulties encountered when moving out of the village and into boarding schools, including separation from parents and cultural and linguistic adjustments, (2) the formation of new kin-like relationships in the institutional setting, and (3) a vision of futures rooted in professional achievement that contrasts sharply with parents’ agropastoral lifestyles, and that involve aspirations of becoming agents for development in their natal communities. The chapter contributes to educational studies in Nepal and South Asia by providing new insights into how children perceive their participation in a migration phenomenon that is driven by structural inequalities, and by exploring how education with its embedded development discourses transforms the ways youths from rural areas imagine their opportunities, social relations, and natal communities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnthropological Perspectives on Education in Nepal
Subtitle of host publicationEducational Transformations and Avenues of Learning
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9780192884756
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • anthropology
  • arts-based methodology
  • childhood
  • development
  • education
  • migration


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