Nepal: The B Project
Comprehensive Planning Completed for 9 Schools: January-April 2017
April 14, 2017
Kushal Harjani and Deanna Boulard
Summary of Activities
The district of Sindhupalchok, Nepal was one of the areas hit hardest by the April 2015 earthquake: more than 2,000 people died, many were injured, and the vast majority of houses, schools, and medical facilities were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. In Bhotenamlang, the hometown of Maya Gurung (one of the founders of Seven Summits Women), there was not 1 house left intact. Sindhupalchok district was already known for sex-trafficking, lack of education, and discrimination against women, and the earthquake’s destruction meant that these problems would only grow worse.
Soon after the earthquake, Real Medicine Foundation partnered with Seven Summits Women to rebuild schools, health posts, and other damaged public structures in the village of Bhotenamlang, Sindhupalchok, and to provide immediate relief and long-term support to the people of Sindhupalchok district. Currently, RMF, through Seven Summits Women:
- Improves WASH conditions in Bhotenamlang VDC
- Supports a tailoring vocational training program for women
- Provides English classes for a local mothers’ group, supports teachers
- Provides afternoon meals to more than 2,000 schoolchildren at 8 schools
- Is working to build Bhotenamlang Community Center
- Is working to rebuild Balsudhar Primary School
- Pursues new programs with additional partners
Bhotenamlang Community Center
Construction to Begin Soon
We are finalizing the drawings for Bhotenamlang Community Center and should start building within a couple of months. Bhotenamlang is in the primary village where we work in Sindhupalchok district, and the main purpose of the community center will be to host training (for example our women’s tailoring training), meetings, community events, films and documentaries for adults and schoolchildren, agricultural training, etc.
Deciding Future Plans
Early this year, we finished surveying the 9 schools that we support and are now making a comprehensive plan for 2017 and beyond. The plan includes everything from reconstruction, teacher training and staffing, starting music, art and computer classes, setting up libraries, and more.
In early 2017, we hired a permaculture trainer in partnership with the Himalayan Permaculture Initiative. The trainer works with local farmers to help them improve their current agricultural practices, use less pesticide, and improve their livelihood.
New Trainer Needed
We will soon (in about a month) hire a trainer to further enhance the tailoring training that we have provided to women in Bhotenamlang. We will then employ these women to stitch uniforms for children in the schools that we support as planned.
Interactive Learning at Shree Ganesh School
Fundraising for the Future
At the moment, we are raising funds to procure 10 computers for the students and set up a library in the new building of Shree Ganesh Primary School.
WASH and Menstrual Hygiene Education
Menstrual Cup Pilot Program
We will soon pilot menstrual cups for young women in one of our sponsored schools and see what the response is like. We will have additional WASH and menstrual hygiene classes when we do so.
Maya Gurung and Shailee Basnet are now respected leaders in their community. They have earned the reputation of being ‘doers’ among villagers who often only see ‘talkers.’ Maya and Shailee have signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the district government to rebuild five schools in Maya’s home village of Bhotenamlang in the district of Sindhupalchok. This district has the greatest death toll after the Nepal earthquake, and in Maya’s village, there is literally not a house standing. As a result, sex-trafficking is more rampant than ever. Keeping kids, especially girls, in school is the most effective way to ensure that they stay away from traffickers. Educating women in remote areas, as well as empowering them by creating choices, is the way to keep them safe and on track.
- Rebuild, equip and staff six schools
- Create proper administration
- Facilitate running water and sanitary toilets
- Provide school supplies
- Provide counseling and teacher training & support
- Provide afternoon meals for children
- Establish initiatives to build awareness of anti-trafficking for children and adults
Plans to Rebuild Balsudhar Primary School
We are continuing to work towards the reconstruction of Balsudhar Primary School, located in a remote village called Kafle, in Bhotenamlang VDC. The school currently offers grades 1–4, with 45 students enrolled, and classes are conducted in two TLCs (temporary learning centers) that we constructed after the April 2015 earthquake with the help of volunteers.
We plan to build state-of-the-art classrooms using local community labor and environmentally friendly materials. The new school, which will have child-friendly furniture and play spaces, modern audio-visual technology, a library with books, and interactive educational materials, will be a model for post-earthquake school reconstruction in the region.
As it is a school for younger children, we will equip Balsudhar Primary School with child-friendly furniture including low tables and seating areas. Contrary to the typical furniture in other primary schools, such furniture allows children to study and play in an interactive environment.
Delay in Acquiring Land for Balsudhar Primary School
Searching for Safe Land to Build
Our plans for Balsudhar Primary School have been delayed because the land donated by a community member is unfit for a school, and there are no other community members willing to donate land.
We are now looking into purchasing land at the bottom of the village, but there is some resistance from the community, as they would like the school to be right next to the village. However, our assessments indicate that there is not enough safe land in the village, and we do not wish to build there. The village itself is perched on top of a hill, and safe land is scarce and limited. We are seeking to find suitable land and create a solution agreeable to the community.