ISLAMABAD-The US government’s English language programmes place a special emphasis on the importance of community service, the US embassy said in a statement yesterday.

“On November 16, more than 140 teachers, graduates, and trainers of a US Department of State-sponsored English Access Microscholarship program from six countries joined hundreds of volunteers from local organizations in Kathmandu, Nepal, to clean the banks of the Bagmati River during the South Asian Summit,” the statement said. The South Asian Summit helps teachers and alumni create and implement their own community service projects, enhance their media literacy skills, and develop a community of classrooms and alumni organisations across borders.

Upon returning to their home countries, participants from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the United States will continue to share their activities through a newly created virtual network to develop deeper cross-border ties.

Of the clean-up event, one participant reflected, “It taught me the value of coming together. It also taught the greatest lessons of all time: Be part of the change that you want to see in the world.”

The English Access Microscholarship Programme provides a foundation of English language skills to talented youth from economically disadvantaged communities through two-year, after-school classes and intensive sessions and is part of the US Embassy’s effort to prepare youth for further study and job opportunities.

Since its inception in 2004, approximately 125,000 students in more than 87 countries have participated in the Access programme.

More than 18,000 Pakistani students have participated in Access programme in more than 37 locations throughout the country since its launch.