Namaste from Nepal
This October, as travel restrictions eased around the world, the Building Education team traveled to the project sites in Nepal.
The first stop was the Siraichuli Primary School. This rebuild project in the Siraichuli Hills entailed:
1. Teardown and rebuilding of 2 classrooms
2. Installation of bathrooms (undertaken by the municipality government)
3. Installation of water system at school
4. Installation of playground at the school
The journey to visit this site started with a six hour bus ride from the capital city of Kathmandu to the Chitwan District. The usual three hours jeep ride from there on up to the school site in the Siraichuli hills was not an option anymore because of the extensive road damage caused by the recent landslides in the monsoon season. So the team drove three and a half hours to the other side of the mountain, up to the highest point a jeep could travel, and then embarked on a three hour trek to the school site at 1,945 meters above sea level. The long rigorous journey was worth every minute as they took in the glorious sight that greeted them.
Siraichuli Before: Buildings damaged in earthquake. Siraichuli After: The rebuild with new facilities
The BE team is very excited to share that the rebuild of Siraichuli Primary School is officially complete! And this is what that success looks like:
The two new classrooms are very spacious. The plan now is to install a divider in each classroom to create a total of 4 classrooms in the new building.
The old building will continue to house the teachers’ offices and will now include a library. The old classrooms will be converted into a kitchen with a dining hall for the students to have a meal. A local partner, SVSI, will create a nutritional food plan for the students.
The work of installing the water system is still in progress. A decision was made later in the project to build a pipe system coming from the local village, that recently installed a water system, instead of building a water harvesting system that was originally planned. This change will allow for sanitary wash systems. It is also more aligned with UNICEF WASH initiatives as outlined in the link below:
The Building Education team is extremely grateful for the support and collaboration provided by their local partner on the ground SVSI, Ichchhakamana Rural Muncipality, the local community, and the extremely generous sponsors of the Building Education mission. A plaque that acknowledges and celebrates this partnership is installed at the school site.
Equally important in the success of this project, if not the most, is the foresight and conviction of the Chief of School Management Committee (pictured below) in this area. It was his vision to have a school built here for his community. He was a leader in the rebuild effort as well. Rightly so, he is called the “Guardian of the Village”.
The rebuilding and construction work is wrapping up in the Siraichuli hills. The Building Education team will now turn its attention to the successful running of the school. It will focus on:
- Increasing student enrollment
- Increasing student attendance
- Improving literacy rates of students
- Improving student health
- Reviewing school curriculum
- Holding the School Monitoring Committee accountable for their goals (1yr, 3 yrs)
As the locals in the Chitwan District celebrate one of their biggest festivals of the year, Dashain, one cannot help but reflect on the added significance of that celebration this year. Like many important festivals around the world, Dashain symbolizes the victory of good over evil. For the purposes of the Building Education mission, this year it might symbolize the victory of education over the cycle of poverty, one remote school at a time.
Next stop Bharang School.