The core team making this happen at RJ
I just returned from Nepal. It was incredible seeing the progress being made now that the designs for earthquake resistant buildings was approved by the government and the end of the fuel blockade allowed us to start work. We are so appreciative of all our supporters who have contributed to this project and all our work in Nepal.
In April and May of 2015 large earthquakes damaged the country of Nepal and its infrastructure. In the rural Solukhumbu where we work, the estimates were that over 1000 school classrooms were damaged and destroyed. It is a devastating effect to the schools in this poor, rural part of Nepal. In response last year, Edge of Seven committed to starting the rebuilding effort by supporting the building of seven Temporary Learning Centers (TLC) in the region. With your support last year we built seven temporary school buildings. This year (2016 — again with your support) we are escalating our work in response to the tragedy. We are building three 2-room school buildings in Spring 2016 and are planning on building four more 2-room buildings in Fall 2016.
In Spring 2016, with your support we are able to build at the locations below.
Salleri, Nepal (Ramailo Jyoti Lower Secondary School)
This school of K-5 (grades 6-8 can't go here right now because there aren't enough classrooms), has damaged classrooms, two classrooms that were rebuilt, the "coming soon" classes that Edge of Seven and The Small World are putting in. Currently the Temporary Learning Center roooms (4 of these) are still in use. The project here has the walls up and the roof soon to come. The completion is scheduled for mid-June hopefully prior to the coming monsoon rains. We're proud of how the School Committee, the Headmaster, the project coordinator and the paid and volunteer workers are being so diligent toward the quality of the construction. These new higher standards for earthquake resistance are pushing up the quality dramatically.
Barkhu, Nepal (Mukli Lower Secondary School)
The building in Barkhu has the foundation completed (3 feet deep) and the concrete footers and corner columns (5 feet deep) are getting poured while we are there. You can see where the previous classrooms stood by the paint on the side of the existing building (see picture below). That non-white area was the roof line for the classrooms that fell in during the earthquakes. We believe in community collaboration and the School Building Committee is led by a local chairmain who works with the Project Coordinator to lead the build. This work is done entirely by the community but with oversight from the PC and from a certified engineer.
Dipli, Nepal (Kalika Primary School)
The school in Dipli had a major amount of work to do to create a flat space for the new building. A gigantic retaining wall had to be built just so that there was space for the classrooms. This building only has the foundation completed as of May 5, 2016. It is scheduled to be completed by June 15 (or before the monsoons begin).
We believe that our impacts are found in the effect that the educational value of our approach has. So rather than 700 students benefiting from the Temporary Learning Centers or 300 students benefitting from the new classroom buildings we believe our impacts come in the form of what those things mean to the girls and the community. For instance we believe that:
- Creating educational chances for older teen girls gives hope, creates a higher value on education for their families, and provides a pathway out of poverty for those families,
- Creating a higher value on education will trickle down into future generations of families in those communities, raising the likelihood that their families (and especially girls) will pursue more education and lift their communities out of poverty,
- Creating permanent spaces for education after the earthquakes means that children stay in school, that teachers keep their jobs, that communities have hope that they can rebuild the rest of the buildings and that they don’t feel ignored as a rural community,
- Creating positive change and development in these communities builds a sense of pride, ownership and empowerment that they can address these issues themselves and can lead to the elimination of a charity mentality when it comes to development
- Creating more economic opportunities for the community to work (on the buildings) provides a much-needed economic input into these communities where subsistence farming is the norm.
We are very aware that the work we are doing is an uphill battle, but the focus on these impacts (as well as our outcomes – students served, buildings built, water supplies repaired, etc. – allows us to continue on with the hope and promise that we are doing a greater collective good than just what we see in the walls and roofs of a building project.
Finally, a special note. One challenge that we continually confront for our own organization as well as for our partners in Nepal is capacity. We work in partnership with the supporting organizations in Nepal as well as the communities themselves everywhere. The ability for a local Nepali NGO to account for finances, report, fundraise, and manage themselves is continually stressed. It mirrors our own challenges to ensure that small NGO’s have all the tools, skills, and especially the time to do all that is required to do this work. One small but very important contribution to us succeeding despite these challenges are people like you who are willing to support our organization as we grow and thrive. So thank you — from all our partners, sponsors, staff, volunteers and board members we couldn’t have done this without your help.
To read more updates as we get them in come to our blog: http://www.edgeofseven.org/blog/
-- Sincerely, Peter Mason
The work @ Mukli Lower w/ the foundation & footer
Kalika Primary has the foundation in
Edge of Seven Spring 2016 project sites
Significant work completed on rock retaining walls