34 SCHOOLS FOR A RETURN TO NORMAL
More than simple buildings, the school gives students a sense of normality, far from the troubled moments that followed the earthquakes. With these earthquake-resistant constructions, more children are back on the school benches, far from the dangers of the street. Without the valuable support of Caritas donors, this unique project, synonymous with child protection and a better future for all, would never have been possible. New neighborhood schools in Sindhupalchowk – one of the poorest districts in Nepal and most affected by earthquakes – have benefited from massive foundations, tiles and windows replicated. There, 95% of houses, streets and schools were destroyed. 3,100 classrooms collapsed or were carried away by debris.
In the spring of 2017, the first schools were completed and Caritas was able to hand over the first 5 schools to the local authorities, which now manage them. More than 800 students have made the transition from temporary learning centers to new, sized and safe classes. Junior High School Palchok is one such school.
A NEW SCHOOL FOR TEMPA, 15 YEARS
“I cannot decide what I like the most. The school is incredibly beautiful! “Says Tempa, a pupil of the Junior High School Palchok. It is fortunate to now be able to attend classes in large, luminous classes with modern furniture. Dilapidated buildings and dark classrooms now belong to the past, as do obsolete sanitary infrastructure and poor quality water. Diseases could spread rapidly in confined spaces where hand washing and hygiene are not guaranteed. New toilets and faucets with clean water are now an integral part of children’s school environment. They can safely learn, grow, and develop their talents. Many children in the neighborhood where Tempa lives do not go to school or have dropped out very young.
Tempa now lives with his grandmother. His mother died in the earthquake. As for his father, he remarried and moved with his new wife to Kathmandu. His grandmother struggles to make ends meet and works hard to get Tempa to go to school. When one evokes earthquakes, the old woman seeks her words and her body contracts under the weight of painful memories.
Tempa and his grandmother (©Bikash Khadge/Caritas Switzerland)
CARITAS AND YOU, ON THE ROUTE OF SOLIDARITY
The rehabilitation of schools in isolated mountain villages in Palchok is a tour de force. 200 small trucks with sand, gravel, wood, and cement had to reach the construction sites via unpaved, damaged roads and sometimes, centimeters by centimeter along the numerous ravines. From June, the rainy season makes these dusty roads muddy and dangerous slopes. Until September, the village is literally cut off from the rest of the country.
Caritas International can only carry out its projects with the support of its generous donors. After last year’s appeal, up to 169,619 euros were raised for the reconstruction of schools in 6 villages in the district of Sindhupalchowk. By the end of 2018, construction of 34 schools will be completed. They constitute the fundamental elements to support the future of the youth of Nepal.