It’s been two years since a devastating series of earthquakes struck Nepal in April and May 2015. Almost 9,000 people lost their lives, over 600,000 homes were destroyed, and key infrastructure such as schools, health facilities, temples and roads was severely damaged.
Thanks to public donations and the New Zealand Aid Programme, the Himalayan Trust responded quickly to provide emergency aid, including materials for shelter and to set up temporary learning classrooms for affected communities in the Everest region.
The generous response from the New Zealand public also allowed the Himalayan Trust to undertake a huge programme to construct seismic-resistant school buildings across the Solukhumbu region. With your help, communities are building back better with safe classrooms that will benefit thousands of children and their families for decades to come.
Two years on from the earthquakes, we are proud to be able to say that over 90 seismic-strengthened classrooms and toilet blocks have been built so far.
This coming year, we plan to build a further 70 classrooms at some of the most remote schools in the region.
Howard Iseli, Programme Manager for the Himalayan Trust explains: “The schools that we are constructing this year are in very remote areas. At these remote sites, all the building materials will need to be carried in on the backs of porters, or porters and mules at some of the lower altitude sites. All the porterage routes will be steep and often many days of walking. We are aiming to get all the materials to sites ready for building to commence before the onset of this year’s monsoon.”
The team plan to finish all construction work of 160 seismic-strengthened classrooms by the end of 2017.
Himalayan Trust Rebuild Programme Manager Howard Iseli has put together a short photo presentation to show you our progress rebuilding earthquake-damaged schools in 2016, as well as some of the challenges we faced.
Our immediate priority was to provide emergency aid including materials for shelter and to set up temporary learning classrooms for affected communities in the Everest region. Our response meant that over 6000 school children were back in class just three weeks after the second earthquake. After a disaster like this, it’s vital to get kids back to school as quickly in an effort to restore normal life and stability, and a way to help them cope with fear and loss. We provided training for teachers in how to support traumatised children, and provided disaster preparedness training for children and teachers in the Solukhumbu District. We also funded the construction of 31 emergency homes for families who lost everything in the earthquakes
The Himalayan Trust funded 31 emergency homes for families who lost everything in the earthquakes
When all the homes in the village of Thulo Gumela were destroyed, the Baraili family received a relief home from the Himalayan Trust.
“When it was the rainy season our four children were able to sleep in the relief house and stay warm and dry. I’m just so happy, I have a very big heart for the help that the Himalayan Trust has given us,” said Padam Baraili.
The rebuild and recovery programme is now in progress and will see the rebuild of 120 classrooms, teachers’ quarters, student hostels and toilet blocks at 30 schools, including some of the most remote schools in the Solukhumbu district within the next three years.
The new school classrooms will have lightweight timber-truss roofs supported on reinforced stone-masonry walls. The construction incorporates reinforced-concrete horizontal bands and vertical members into the masonry walls. This design provides seismic resistance, while also maximizing the use of local materials as well as traditional building styles and techniques.
We have established a team of highly skilled and qualified Nepali engineers and building supervisors to manage the multi-site project, supported by New Zealand project manager Howard Iseli.
Local young people will be offered on the job vocational training as part of the rebuild. Skilled tradespeople from Kathmandu and elsewhere will work alongside local people. Not only will this help address the problem of labour shortages, but it will also bring in vital new skills and employment opportunities to the region.
The local community will raise at least 10% of the rebuild cost of the school facilities. Some of this may be provided construction labour or portering equipment and materials to the rebuild sites.
From financial support to labour, consultation and leadership, the whole community play a key role in the rebuild and recovery programme.
Meet Lhakpa Gelzen Sherpa, leader of the “Build Back Better” rebuild project for Chaurikharka High School.
Please donate to help us continue our rebuild work in Nepal. Every contribution, large or small will make a real difference to the communities we work with in the Everest region.
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