Model Village Project (Arupokhari, Gorkha)
The Model Village Project (MVP) is a RMF pilot initiative in Nepal that aims to contribute to the improvement of education, health and livelihoods of the community in Gorkha through support of the schools, health posts and other community-based institutions. The project is based in Arupokhari, one of the villages in Gorkha, where RMF has started supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the village. Gorkha district was the epicenter of the earthquake where over 91% of houses have been irrevocably damaged, along with over 95% of schools and 90% of health facilities. Arupokhari is a remote village in Northern Gorkha, which is close to the epicenter of the April 25th Mega Earthquake. Out of 1,350 households, 1,226 houses have been completely destroyed in this village.
Completed (Saraswati Peace School catering the conflict affected, poor, marginalized and earth-quake affected children):
- RMF supported pre-fab house has been installed in the school. Lack of quality education is often accorded to lack of well-qualified teachers in the rural areas. The school has placed three qualified teachers, hired from the Kathmandu area and placed at the school for a good salary. The presence of these teachers is essential to the school, as the standard of the education and children’s performance has been raised after bringing them in. However, school had faced challenges in teachers’ retention due to lack of safe housing facilities. Therefore, this pre-fab house will not only provide safe and quality housing option to the teachers but will also contribute to boost their morale, which has been severely affected due to the earthquake and the following aftershocks. We aim that this support will contribute to the overall improvement of children’s performance at the school.
Prefab Building Construction
- RMF will be taking up a local health clinic in the area from November on. Currently, we are in the process of signing a MOU with the District Health Office for this purpose.
In line with RMF’s concepts and the government of Nepal’s vision for a comprehensive and eventually sustainable Model Village, RMF, in close partnership and collaboration with Sarswati Foundation will be working towards the development of a Model Village in Arupokhari. Sarswati Foundation has been working in Arupokhari, Gorkha since 2009 as a non-profit. This was co-founded by Subhash Ghimire, a native from that village and editor-in-chief of the Republica, Nepal’s leading English daily that publishes with the New York Times in Kathmandu.
Following the devastating earthquake, the non-profit has been actively engaged in relief and reconstruction works in the area, which includes providing food and temporary shelter relief to the affected people. So far, the foundation has delivered 7.5 tons (100 sacks of 30 kg rice, 50 sacks of 50 kg lentils, 500 sacks of 0.5 L of oil, 500 packets of 1 kg salt, 495 blankets, 350 tents) to the community, and aims to rebuild the village as a replicable model, which will include earthquake-safe structures designed by architects and engineers, utilizing local natural and human resources to ensure ownership and sustainability, improved healthcare access, education and livelihood programs, based on the needs of the communities and with the leadership of the local people.
Similarly, the village also holds a huge potential as a thriving Manaslu trekking route, along with a 600-megawatt hydro project being planned around in the area. In addition, the community is also actively engaged in production of local agricultural products and livestock. With a thought-out detailed plan, the opportunities of the village could be tapped in to create a replicable, integrated and sustainable Model Village.
RMF supports the rebuilding of Sarswati Peace School (more than 200 students, mostly from economically and culturally marginalized backgrounds) and Darbar Higher Secondary School (public school with more than 400 students), both of which were badly damaged during the earthquake. The current plan is to demolish the existing damaged structure and construct earthquake resistant buildings.
Along with the support to the reconstruction of the schools, the model village project also seeks to help build at least 100 temporary shelters and 700 permanent houses to the identified most vulnerable households in the community and one earthquake resistant local health center. Health services, education, and the economy will be supported for the long-term as the people of Arupokhari build a stronger future in collaboration with RMF and Sarswati.
- Rebuild the village as a replicable model, which will include earthquake-safe structures designed by architects and engineers
- Use local natural and human resources to ensure ownership and sustainability
- Improve healthcare access and education based on the needs of the communities and with the leadership of the local people