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.
Sep 29, 2015

Rebuilding classrooms after the earthquake

We are excited that rebuilding work has officially begun after the earthquake in Nepal in April.

Shringery Secondary School, in the Mahalaxmi municipality of Lalitpur district, is the first of about 20 schools we hope to help in the coming months.

The earthquake damaged the first floor of a two-story building on the grounds of Shringery Secondary School. The construction will add four rooms, which is expected to benefit around 80 students each year. The school expects the construction work to be completed by mid November.

(In the photos below, the open room will be partitioned into four separate classrooms.) 

Eventually, we hope to help the school complete a third floor of classrooms as well. This was our original intention last spring, before the earthquake struck.

The school’s principal, Madhav, says, “We will build safe and secure classrooms by following the advice provided by the engineers. We will not compromise from our part on the materials or cut corners to get things done quickly.”

The Santi School Project is proud to support the students and teachers of Shringery Secondary School. We have a history of working with the school to train teachers and have placed volunteers there to help run extra-curricular dance programs for students.

Recently, the school has performed well on the annual school-leaving exam, or SLC, the most important exam that college-bound students take after 10th grade. Shringery had 100 percent pass rates for the last four years; last spring, 10 out of 13 students passed.

Other school construction projects will kick off soon. Currently, we are working on obtaining government approval for earthquake reconstruction at several other schools in Lalitpur district. That work is expected to begin by mid November.

Thank you for your support as we help repair a few of the thousands of schools damaged by the earthquake. Look for more updates soon on our progress.

Jul 14, 2015

Assessing Earthquake-Damaged School Buildings

Despite hardship, children are still smiling
Despite hardship, children are still smiling

Recently, we’ve been visiting many of our partner schools to assess the damage caused by the earthquakes in April.

Our first activity after the quake was an art and craft program for displaced children at a temporary learning center in Kathmandu. Then we hit the road to see the damage thousands of schools have suffered. Our U.S. board member, Beth Norford, joined us, and we hired a Jeep and embarked on our journey.

Driving on the bumpy dirt roads in Nepal’s mountains is quite a challenge. A local vehicle broke down on a steep slope along the way, making the road impassable. Our team abandoned the Jeep and walked for about an hour to reach our first destination among three scheduled for that day.

As we walked, we kept our spirits up by admiring the beauty that you are sure to find when you hike any trails in Nepal’s mountains. Along the way, we found some outstandingly generous people, who despite all the loss they have suffered still offered us some cucumbers to stave off the afternoon heat.

Once we reached the first school, we were greeted by the playful children who were adjusting to life with classrooms that have been partially destroyed. But there were plenty of smiles on their faces and that helped us forget the hardship of our hike.

Afterward, we hiked back to our Jeep and discovered that the other vehicle had been fixed, clearing the road. We were back on our way: there were still two other schools to visit before returning to Kathmandu. It was a long day, but the trip gave us invaluable insights about the situation on the ground.

One of the schools we visited was Guru Lower Secondary School of Bukhel Village Development Committee of Lalitpur district.The two-room classroom building that we helped build at Guru in 2013 is the only building still standing in the village, which had about 50 homes. Government inspectors judged this building to be safe to conduct classes, and the school is currently using it. However, the other six classrooms were deemed unsafe and have been demolished.

Here’s a few of the schools in Lalitpur district that we have worked with in the past, have visited recently and plan to help by rebuilding classrooms damaged by the earthquake:

Guru Lower Secondary School, which has 160 students up to grade eight. We plan to complete construction of the first floor of a building with three classrooms.

Baleshwori Higher Secondary School, which has 250 students up to grade 12. The school has asked us to renovate one damaged building, rebuild toilets and install a water distribution system for those toilets.

Kali Devi Higher Secondary School, which has an enrollment of more than 350 students studying from nursery to grade 12. We intend to help the school renovate one building, provide furniture for grade one and two classes and provide mats for the nursery.

At all three schools we also plan to provide books to start classroom libraries for kids at lower grades, to make books accessible to the students and promote a culture of reading.

In addition, we have announced plans to work with two other schools, in Dolakha district:

One project will rebuild eight classrooms for Kshamawati Higher Secondary School in Suspa Kshamawati VDC. It is the oldest government-registered school in Dolakha district, with 450 students from nursery to grade 12. The majority of the students are members of the disadvantaged Thami ethnic minority

The other project is Durga Higher Secondary School in a community called Maga Pauwa VDC. The school was established in 1962 and has more than 500 students studying from nursery to grade 12. Our focus is on the primary level, with about 150 students from nursery to grade 5 benefitting from the carpeting, cushions and classroom furniture as well as early childhood education training for teachers.

If damage is limited, classrooms are still used
If damage is limited, classrooms are still used
Tents are a common sight on school grounds
Tents are a common sight on school grounds
Our team in Nepal
Our team in Nepal
Private homes in villages have collapsed
Private homes in villages have collapsed
Jun 17, 2015

Helping Children Displaced by Earthquakes in Nepal

Following the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May, thousands of people were

forced to take shelter outside in the army parade ground in Kathmandu, the capital. With schools closed

for more than five weeks, children had nothing to do during the day, and no way to deal with the

trauma that had left thousands of people dead.

 

We searched for a way to help these children overcome their fear of another earthquake, and came up

with the idea of using art and craft sessions as a kind of therapy. About 250 children, aged 3 to 14,

participated in the sessions from May 22-30 at a temporary learning center on the grounds.

 

“My family has decided not to go back to our room until after the aftershocks completely stop. Camps

like these give us a sense of normalcy,” Gayatri Singh Thakuri, 12, told a local newspaper. (To read the

story, see the link below.) 

 

Gayatri’s family, like many others living in tents on the parade ground, had been renting a room before

the quake. These families tended to be migrants who came to Kathmandu in search of work, with few

financial resources.

 

The children responded very enthusiastically to the arts sessions. More than 10 teachers and volunteers

helped make them possible.

 

Now that school is back in session across Nepal, thousands of schools are holding class outside because

earthquake damage has left buildings unsafe if not completely destroyed. The rebuilding effort will take

years to complete in a country that already suffered great hurdles in simply providing safe, well-lit

classrooms for students. We are grateful for your support as we contribute to this next phase of

rebuilding after the earthquake.

Links:

 
   

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