We're excited to announce that we have begun work in the top three schools (in terms of priority need) in the Solukhumbu. Our on the ground partners, the communities and government are all supporting the efforts and helping us mobilize community labor donations, hire labor and begin the process after the delays caused by the fuel blockades of the latter part of 2015. This winter we've begun the clearing of rubble, preparing the ground, improving the terracing and walls and even begun digging for the foundations for these three schools. We expect to have 3 buildings (2 classrooms each) completed by mid-June.
On the ground staff are preparing to use the first government approved designs that now include additionally reinforced methods of construction so that they are more reinforced against earthquake damage. Previously the local entities would approve the designs, but now the national government is approving the designs. Our earth-bag building techniques are still under review (we expect to have approval for these within six months) but for now we are building with reinforced traditional stone techniques.
The first communities in which we're working (Salleri, Mukli and Basa) are in great need because of the number of school classrooms that were damaged. All these classrooms out of commission can lead to greater challenges for students to go to school, and can even increase student's travel times to school in these rural villages when they have to go to another school because their school doesn't have enough classrooms to hold them. Some students walk a total of 3 hours each day to go to school. All these barriers to education more greatly affect girls because of their (often) lower priority with the family or community to receive an education.
We are excited to get this work underway not only for the communities involved but also for the four communities that are coming up next. We may be able to begin the work on the next four schools late this spring, but if not they will be begun and completed after the monsoons end in mid-September.
Thank you to all of you who are supporting us in this and all our endeavors to support and create greater access for girls' education in Nepal.
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