Help us to rebuild a school in the Helambu Province of Nepal (Shree Saraswoti), which was destroyed in the earthquakes of 2015.
In the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Nepal (April 2015), HELP and Mondo Challenge Foundation have delivered emergency supplies and shelter to 3000 families in 32 villages in the Helambu region, Nepal and have completed 225 Temporary Learning Centres across 45 villages. Their priority is now rebuilding classrooms, damaged facilities and providing desks and books which were lost in the earthquake. According to Nepalese Government figures, of the 545 schools in Sindhupalchowk district, over 525 were completely destroyed. HELP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Education on the 7th of October 2015 to help with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 15 schools including Shree Saraswoti Basic School at Labse in Langarche, which we are proposing to rebuild. The picture above shows the school facility before the earthquake. Of 15 schools, HELP with funding support from Mondo Challenge Foundation are nearing completion of eight schools and began three others in February 2017. Of the eight schools built by HELP, one of them at Shree Deurali Basic School in the village of Tartong, Helambu was funded jointly by Inner Wheel/School in a Bag.
Shree Saraswoti Basic School at Labse village in Laangarche VDC suffered major damage in the April 2015 earthquake, which completely destroyed the old school building in which the classes were being run. Alongside the school building, 95% of the village houses were flattened and one student died in the tragedy that shook the entire nation. Also destroyed were desks and benches, toilet building and other vital educational resources such as library facilities. SIAB together with HELP distributed school bags and stationery in June of 2015 for all their 160+ students as seen in the picture above.
The school came in contact with HELP soon after the earthquake where they had helped hundreds of villagers with emergency food supplies and shelter. Following that, the local villagers who had seen HELP’s work in the neighbouring Bhotenamlang and Gunsa villages requested them to help with a school building. To assess the situation, the Chief Executive of Mondo Challenge Foundation, together with the Executive DIrector of HELP visited the village in March of 2015.
Characteristics of the Project
The school currently has 160 students of which 77 are boys and 83 are girls. The school runs up to grade 5 and has only 4 teachers, of which 3 are funded by the government. For secondary education, local children must walk for 2 to 2.5 hours to the nearest school at Tipeni village or Laangarche secondary school. This has caused a high drop-out rate particularly for girls attending higher grades like 7 to 10. So, the aspiration amongst the local parents is to upgrade the school to run up to grade 8 in the near future. To date, only 15-20 students from the village have passed the School Leaving Certificate Examinations from the village, which is very low compared to other villages.
There are currently 8 temporary classrooms, erected after the earthquake, which are built out of local timber, plain CGI, and bamboo, not all suitable for winter/rain. In the absence of permanent classrooms, the students have to make do with the temporary facilities which are not only overcrowded, but due to the close proximity between the classrooms, students also have to deal with disturbance and distraction created by classroom noise. To add to this, due to a lack of proper fencing, the students attend the classes in a rather unsafe setting.
Shree Saraswoti Basic School has a strong School Management Committee, which consists of parents of the students and other community members who participate actively in all school activities. Mr. Phurpa Tamang, a 31 year old local man, who was previously a student of the same school is the current chair. He and his team will be HELP’s main local contact person in the school and will be key local partner in the implementation of the project.
HELP on the ground now have a solid team of local supervisors and engineers to manage the building work, having successfully completed eight schools. They have a pool of 40-50 local masons who have undergone intensive masonry training, including five from Labse. They will form the key workforce at the construction site. One supervisor will be present on the ground at all times, from the beginning of the project, which may take as long as nine months.