Community member transporting materials
dZi Foundation has been working in very remote communities in Nepal since 1998. Our work has made a tremendous impact in these communities, which have seen little or no support from the Nepal Government or other sources. dZi Foundation and Global Giving have partnered to build an earthquake safe 6-classroom building for the Sisu Secondary School in the very remote community of Maheshwori in Khotang district, Nepal. This school has a total of 12 classrooms, 6 of which were damaged beyond repair by the April 25th, 2015, earthquake. This new building will provide a safe and child-friendly learning environment for 284 students each year studying in grades one to ten. This project will build upon the combination of our experience with earthquake safe design and construction, and our long-standing connection to the community of Maheshwori.
The village of Maheshwori is one of the most remote inhabited communities in Nepal. To reach here, one must walk for nearly two days from the nearest reliable airstrip or road. The communities here exist much as they have for centuries, depending upon subsistence farming and traditional healing practices.
The earthquakes on April 25 and May 12th of t2015 totally destroyed about 1/3 of all homes in Maheswori; the remaining 2/3 were all damaged and needed repair. Additionally, some 70% of all public infrastructure including schools and community buildings were totally destroyed. Miraculously, the earthquakes both occurred on days when schools were not in session, saving students and staff from major injury, or worse. Some children in the community were injured in the earthquakes, and parents, staff and students alike reported significant fear around returning to school. The Sisu Secondary School is the only option for young children in Maheswori, and children already walk upwards of an hour from their homes to reach there.
Construction of a new, safe school will go a tremendous distance towards helping community members heal and attend school without fear, and will ensure that students can continue with their education. Again, this building will serve 284 students from an extremely poor community. The final classrooms will be bright, clean, and provide an excellent learning environment for students. The building will be constructed to a rigorous engineering standard that is designed specifically to withstand future seismic shocks.
This project will be implemented in a manner modeled after our proven earthquake safe school construction techniques. The building will incorporate a site-specific design by a certified engineer, and will incorporate techniques and guidelines established by government bodies including the Department of Education and the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET).
As with our previous earthquake safe school building construction projects, this project will also be completed with substantial amounts of local contribution. In the past, community members have donated extremely high levels of local materials and labor to our projects - equivalent to nearly 15 % of the overall project budget. The community in Maheswori has committed a similar amount to this project.
Activities and Anticipated Outcomes:
dZi has finalized most of the preliminary work leading up to the actual construction of this school. We are currently procuring and transporting materials to the project site. Below is a high level timeline for the project as a whole:
- Design and estimation of the projects by certified engineer - July 2016.
- Meeting with the School Management Committee, parents, and community members to form a local Construction Committee - August 2016.
- Pre-construction trainings given to local masons, and construction committee members; community members mobilized to begin local contribution of materials and labor – December 2016
- Procurement and transportation of building materials; construction of actual school building; providing regular oversight and monitoring for quality of construction – December 2016 - June 2017
- Final reporting, building inspection and certification by engineer, and public audit process – July 2017
- Coordinating with district Government agencies to register the earthquake resistant school building construction, and handover to local school management committee - July 2017
- Monitoring and Evaluation of the project outcomes – Ongoing.
In summary, with Global Giving's direct support, dZi Foundation and the community members of Maheswori are beginning an important new project in one of the most remote villages of Nepal. Upon completion, 284 students will study in safe classrooms, and their vulnerability to injury from further earthquakes will be greatly reduced. Students, staff and parents will no longer be afraid to attend school, and the quality of education will be improved through a significantly improved learning environment.
Thank you to everyone involved in supporting this project. We will update everyone with photos and stories from the project once we actually break ground! Happy New Year and Namaste from everyone at dZi, both in Nepal and the US.
Locals digging foundation for a school
Transparency:Public Audit banners at project sites
Students in a damaged and unsafe classroom