Last November was a busy time in Nepal. In the first part of the month, we celebrated some major festivals and holidays. Then, for three consecutive days, there was hardly any traffic on the streets of Kathmandu as the normal pace of life came to a standstill for national elections for the constituent assembly.
We got back to work in earnest in late November. Here’s what’s been happening on the ground in Nepal:
Building New Classrooms
We have started work on two rooms at Bani Bilash Higher Secondary School, Chapagaun Village Development Committee (VDC), in Lalitpur district. The total estimated cost of the project is NRs.946,000 (around $9,500); Santi School has provided roughly $7,100 and the school is contributing the rest. The project is expected to be completed by mid-April 2014. The school has 26 teachers serving more than 560 students from nursery to grade 12.
Starting Health and Sanitation Projects
We have launched health and sanitation projects at two schools. We’re setting up a drinking water system at Bal Manorama Lower Secondary School, Ashrang, in Lalitpur district, and also installing white boards at the school, replacing black boards and chalk. The cost of the project is NRs.63,000 (around $630) with the school contributing 25% of the cost. The project is expected to be completed by mid-March 2014. The school has 10 teachers serving more than 260 students studying from nursery to grade eight.
We’re also installing a drinking water system at Bal Jyoti Lower Secondary School, Nanglebhare VDC, in Kathmandu district. The expected cost of the project is NRs.47,850 (around $500) with Santi School contributing 75 percent of the cost. The school has 12 teachers serving more than 250 students from nursery to grade eight.
These health and sanitation projects are supported by a donation from Rising Tide in the United States.
Inaugurating Completed Buildings
We handed over two new school buildings to their respective school management committees during inauguration ceremonies last November.
One was a two-room building at Bagh Bhairab Secondary School, Chaughare VDC, in Lalitpur district. The school, which serves more than 250 students from nursery to grade 10, needed a new building because overcrowding had forced it to conduct some classes in partitioned rooms. The total cost of construction was NRs.670,000 (around $8,000).
The second project was a three-room building for Thakursthan Lower Secondary School, Budhakhani VDC, in Kavrepalanchowk district. The school has eight teachers serving more than 160 students in a remote area. The total cost of the project was 645,242 (around US$8,000).
For both these projects, Santi School contributed 75% of the total cost and the local community provided the rest.
Teacher Training Continues
We brought our teacher training to a new center at Saraswoti Higher Secondary School, Lele VDC, in Lalitpur district in October, and then conducted a session at Jana Jagriti Higher Secondary School, Ikudole VDC, in the same district. The second phase of this training got under way in mid-February 2014.
We’re making a documentary, thanks to our partner group, Positive Exposures, which selected Santi School from a field of more than 300 charity groups last year, and will provide us with video and still photos. Their expertise is a real blessing, since we don't the capacity to do this on our own.
At the end of last year, photographer Dawn Deeks from Positive Exposures spent five weeks filming at our schools in Nepal. She was accompanied by Santi School founder Chris Heun and Robert Gruber, one of our board members. Together, they visited several of our project sites.
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