The Santi School Project

The Santi School Project is dedicated to giving children in Nepal, particularly girls and those from disadvantaged ethnic minorities, a chance for a quality education.
Apr 25, 2016

Furnishing new classrooms after the earthquake

New furniture at Shringery School near Kathmandu.
New furniture at Shringery School near Kathmandu.

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since a devastating earthquake rocked Nepal. Recovery has been painfully slow, but gradually schools are moving their students into new classrooms. The Santi School Project is proud to help make that possible.

We are helping to rebuild schools and provide new furniture for students and teachers at 12 schools. Earlier this month we delivered new chairs and desks to two of those schools.

The furniture for both schools has been specifically designed for younger students in kindergarten and grades 1-3. We take this for granted in the West, but it’s unusual in Nepal for desks and tables to be made at a size appropriate for younger children.

The first school is Durga Higher Secondary School of Maga Pauwa, in Dolakha district, about 70 miles away from Kathmandu. Established in 1962, it has 20 teachers and staff and more than 500 students from kindergarten to grade 12. We provided furniture for four classrooms.

As a matter of fact, our furniture arrived before the renovations are complete. Once the classrooms are finished we’ll have photos to show of the new furnishings set up for the students.

The other school to receive new furniture is Shringery Community Secondary School in Mahalaxmi municipality of Lalitpur district. Established in 1995, it is about 15 km away from Kathmandu and has 18 teachers and staff for 215 students from kindergarten to grade ten.

Recently, we built four classrooms at Shringery, and have conducted teacher training programs there in the past.

Thank you for your support to make these critical improvements in the lives of hundreds of children in Nepal. Without your help, our students in earthquake-ravaged areas would still be sitting outside at school every day, or trying to learn while cramped inside a canvas tent.

The furniture is made by hand.
The furniture is made by hand.
Delivering furniture at Durga School.
Delivering furniture at Durga School.
Mar 24, 2016

Pace of school reconstruction is slow but steady

Rebuilding schools is done mostly by hand.
Rebuilding schools is done mostly by hand.

The devastating earthquake in Nepal nearly a year ago flattened homes and school buildings in an instant.

Rebuilding has been just the opposite: frustratingly slow, bogged down by the powerful forces of government bureaucracy and an unofficial trade embargo by neighboring India, among other factors.

Nevertheless, The Santi School Project has signed agreements to renovate classrooms at eight different schools in Lalitpur and Dolakha districts, some of the areas hit hardest by the quake. Construction has begun and is expected to be completed by mid July.

All of these projects have been approved by engineers working in the Nepali government’s Department of Education. It requires that schools seeking funds to rebuild submit a damage assessment report as well as a project estimate.

Santi School has employed engineers to design earthquake-resilient buildings and monitor construction sites once work is under way. One major design change has been to require extra support around doors and window sills.

In some communities ravaged by the earthquake, skilled laborers are busy rebuilding their own homes and are not available to help with the local school. In those cases, schools have asked us to provide manpower.

Another hurdle has been the unofficial blockade at the India-Nepal border, which has choked trade and fuel supplies for months. That means the cost of building materials has increased, and transportation is much more expensive.

Despite those hurdles, the work is getting down and schools are in fact coming back to life. Our first earthquake renovation project has been completed: A $9,000 rebuild of four classrooms at Shringery Community Secondary School that benefitted 250 students. Recently, we inaugurated the new building with a ceremony that included the school administration, parent-teachers association, parents, students and social workers representing the deputy district education officer of Lalitpur district.

Some skilled laborers are busy rebuilding homes.
Some skilled laborers are busy rebuilding homes.
Pouring a cement foundation.
Pouring a cement foundation.
Jan 20, 2016

Replacing bamboo schools with bricks and mortar

Students study in a hut made of bamboo and plastic
Students study in a hut made of bamboo and plastic

It’s wintertime in Nepal, and the harsh weather means life continues to be difficult for millions of Nepalis in rural areas living in temporary shelters made of bamboo and plastic.

More than nine months have passed since the devastating earthquake last spring, and many rural communities are still working to rebuild homes and schools. The government and large international charities have been slow to start up reconstruction work. A nationwide fuel crisis, precipitated by an “unofficial blockade” by India for nearly four months, has only exacerbated the problems.

Despite all this, we are proud to announce that we’re making strong progress renovating two classrooms at Shree Devi Lower Secondary School, in the Nallu village development committee of Lalitpur district. The school has 138 students, from kindergarten through grade eight.

Students there -- like so many children in areas where the earthquakes destroyed or damaged school buildings -- have been studying in a temporary learning center made of bamboo with a roof of plastic sheets, which does not do an adequate job of protecting them from the elements. Thankfully, we expect they will move inside their new classrooms very soon.

Engineers along with the vice district education officer for Lalitpur conducted a monitoring visit at the school in mid January and approved of the construction work. The vice principal of the school has been particularly helpful in overseeing the renovations.

This is one of 14 different schools that we plan to provide earthquake renovations this year. We expect that many of these projects will break ground in the next month or so.

Thank you for your support to help make these projects possible.

Engineers supervise reconstruction work.
Engineers supervise reconstruction work.
Our chairman briefs local officials on the work.
Our chairman briefs local officials on the work.
 
   

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