Destroyed classroom (photo by Mark Turin)
The ground still shakes a little on most days - but the kids are back in school!
As you know, the severe spring earthquakes destroyed almost all school facilities in the Dolakha villages where ETC works. Each of the 30 schools with which ETC has partnered since mid-2014 was damaged seriously, if not flattened. You can see some "before" and "after" photos by clicking on the link below. Aftershocks continue to occur frequently in Dolakha, making it abundantly clear that rebuilt permanent school facilities need to be quake-resistant; most of the old buildings were not, but the very few newer buildings fared much better.
Rebuilding permanent schools will be a lengthy and expensive process involving many partners, including national and district-level government education offices as well as local residents and school personnel. The 3,000+ children who attend these schools cannot reasonably have their educations suspended until the schools can be permanently rebuilt.
With that in mind, ETC is supporting temporary learning centers (TLCs) at the 30 schools in our current project area. As of early July, we had provided building materials and technical support for the construction of TLCs at each of the schools; 90% of those temporary classrooms are built, and the other 10% are underway and will soon be completed. You can see a photo of a two-room TLC, made with support from ETC and USAID, below.
Moreover, we have provided classroom and school supplies and recreational materials (balls, jump ropes, etc.) to replace those destroyed when homes and schools collapsed. Ten schools and their students and teachers have already received these materials, and the others will soon receive theirs. The recreational materials are just as important as the academic materials, because even if just for a short while, children can forget their troubles in play as they did before their lives were upended.
Our staff reports that although the logistics are difficult - for example, the TLCs have smaller capacity than the now-ruined buildings did, so that classes have to take it in shifts to use these facilities - things are as back to normal as can be expected under the circumstances. Teachers, students, and families are relieved to have lost less school time than could otherwise have been the case.
We are very grateful to you, our supporters, for helping thousands of children in Nepal get back to the important business of learning. Their future truly does depend on having the opportunity to be educated now!
Please do not hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments about this update, or about ETC's work in general.
Building a TLC
Temporary classrooms in use