Rebuilding schools in Nepal

Building Futures' tenth project focused on rebuilding schools and restoring education for girls and boys in Nepal, following the major earthquakes of 2015.

The need

On 25 April 2015, a major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale hit Nepal just outside the capital city, Kathmandu. A second earthquake measuring 7.3 hit just two weeks later. This caused widespread damage across several districts, the worst hit being Sindhupalchowk where 95% of schools were damaged or destroyed. Children have been learning in temporary learning shelters but long-term rebuilding is much needed to ensure their education and wellbeing is not disrupted any longer.

What we achieved

Study Group raised the £220,000 needed to construct and fit out the new school in Sindhupalchowk District, Nepal. Despite delays to construction caused by the incredibly difficult environment in Nepal since the earthquake, the children in the area now have a safe and healthy place to learn. Various challenges included uncertain weather, monsoons, sourcing reliable construction works and building materials, and governmental changes in Nepal.

Over the course of 18 months, Study Group staff and students raised funds for this project through monthly donations and events such as cake sales, running events and raffles. In December 2017, we raised significant funds through the inaugural Global Exercise Bike Challenge for our teams all over the world. Watch the highlights.

The project successfully:

  • Rebuilt the secondary school with quality, durable and resilient materials
  • Constructed seven new classrooms, one nursery room, a library/science/computer lab and an office
  • Equipped classrooms with child-friendly desks and chairs
  • Constructed accessible, gender-separated toilet blocks and a disability-friendly toilet
  • Constructed boundary walls to protect the environment from strong winds and rain, and to increase safety
  • Provided library books and practical learning resources for subjects like science and geography
  • Installed computers with Wi-Fi access
  • Improved the knowledge of children, teachers, parents and community members on what to do in an emergency and how to stay safe
  • Raised awareness on the importance of girls' education and gender equality in the classroom and at home
  • Worked with the local and national government to improve disaster preparedness in the long-term within communities and schools.

Lal Prasad Yadav, an English teacher at the school said:

“It is very different now than from before. The school in the past was totally demolished by the earthquake and at that time the children were very unsafe while they were learning and they were afraid. Now I am living in this community and while we are working we are feeling very great because we have great buildings now, and our children are very safe. The views are very positive now.”

The impact

The project, implemented by Plan International Nepal, involved the local communities so the School Management Committee is invested in its success. This school will benefit hundreds of students who had been learning in temporary classrooms or not attending school at all. The new school now has capacity for more than 480 children aged 3 to 15 and is built to withstand future disasters.

Key achievements from the project

  • Worked in partnership with the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) and the Ministry of Education to deliver a safe school which complies with all national safety standards in Nepal.
  • Trained 24 people, including children in disaster risk reduction and first aid.
  • Developed a disaster action plan designed to minimise impact in the event of another disaster and conducted mock evacuation drills.
  • Strengthened the knowledge and experience of the School Management Committee and governance structures at the School. 

Visiting the project

In February 2019, six Study Group employees travelled to Nepal to visit the completed project school. They met the students and teachers and found out how they feel about the new school. Many of the children come from farming families but they are now inspired to have careers as nurses and teachers.

Building Back Better

Building Back Better means that community recovery efforts result in safer, more resilient buildings and infrastructure.

It means working with communities on their recovery journey, involving them as partners in the entire process, providing emotional support and building knowledge, community spirit and resilience. Things that aren't seen immediately, but that can withstand any future challenge.

Bhusan Aryal, Construction Specialist Plan International (Nepal) said:

“Safety is the first concern for the children and their family. This type of school building is seismic resistant, including all foundation details and structural components. The 
government checks the design and we use that for implementation… It also looks attractive for the community and they are interested to send their children.” 

95% of schools in the Sindhupalchowk district were damaged or destroyed in the 2015 earthquake

“My favourite subject is English. The new school has beautiful colours and big buildings. I like it.  When I grow up I want to be a nurse.”

Anjali, age 14

I feel very happy to study in the new school. The classrooms are bright and have fresh air. Now, I don't have to worry about being cold in winter.

Urmila, age 14