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.
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
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.
We are Continuing Infrastructure Support for our Partner Schools
The winter is the dry season in Nepal and this is when we start the infrastructure projects of our partner schools. This winter as well, we have partnered with four schools to meet their infrastructural needs. Here is a summary of the work and their status.
Pathibhara Primary School:
We have met the requirements for furniture for close to 100 at Pathibhara Primary School, Kapan, Budhanilkantha municipality, Kathmandu district. In addition to carpeting the floor and providing cushions for nursery class, we have also prepared chairs and tables, provided dry and erase boards through the collaboration between the Avionte Hope Foundation of Avionte Solutions and provided armchairs through NLD Training company. The furniture were handed over to the school amidst a function held at the school on February 18, 2015.
Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School:
We have helped the Vishwamitra Ganesh Secondary School, Jyamirkot, Mahalaxmi municipality, Lalitpur district to complete two rooms on the third floor of a school building. The school had only finished the construction of the framing structure of the third floor. The school was completed rooms were handed over to the school management committee by the district education officer of Lalitpur amidst a function held at the school on February 28, 2015.
Waltraud Northdurfter, member of the Austrian Alpine Association, Imst Oberland Section, contributed funds for this on the occasion of her seventieth birthday.
Bidhyadhishwori Higher Secondary School:
We are supporting the Bidhyadhishwori Higher Secondary School, Ashrang VDC, Lalitpur district to complete the two rooms of a school building. The school had completed the frame of the two floors and we are supporting the construction of two classrooms on the first floor. Work is at an initial stage with concrete blocks being prepared and it is expected to be completed by mid May.
Saraswoti Bidhyashram Secondary School:
We are supporting the fixing of doors and windows shutters at Saraswoti Bidhyashram Secondary School, Chandapur VDC, Lalitpur district. The shutters are being prepared with the work expected to be completed by mid March.
Thank you for your support to make these projects, and our teacher training program, possible.