In 2015, two violent earthquakes struck Nepal affecting 5.4 million people. AHAH arrived 72 hours after the first, to see how we could help. After six+ months of rubble removal and constructing camps, clinics and homes, we began to focus on rebuilding resilient schools. This program, now entering its fifth year, is our holistic approach to helping as many overlooked rural communities as possible recover -- and recover stronger -- by rebuilding the schools at the center of community life.
The earthquakes damaged or destroyed 8,000 schools. In hard-hit rural Nepal, towns and villages are difficult to access on a clear day, let alone during the rainy season when monsoons create the possibility of dangerous landslides. By the fall of 2015, it was clear to our team that assistance repairing these schools is critical. Children were attending classes in temporary structures that were unsafe and open to the elements.
All Hands and Hearts determined that the most effective way to help as many people in Nepal's mountainous villages as possible toward recovery and a better future is to rebuild safe schools at the center of their communities. This Program involves these initiatives: Demolition/rubble removal of unsafe classrooms; Repair/reconstruction of resilient structures; WASH facility installation; Female Mason Training; Institution of EdTech and other programs (health/hygiene, Disaster Risk Reduction).
More than 5,000 children are back in safe schools (21 to date) all built to last in the face of future disasters. Local workers have been trained and can disseminate "build back better" construction methods while having new credentials for the job market. Thousands of volunteers from all walks of life have had their lives transformed by receiving more through giving to others. Our fifth year in Nepal will continue this exciting momentum, as newly rehabilitated schools ignite hope in the future.