Disaster Relief Project in Nepal continues to make a strong impact one year later
One year has passed since volunteers began rebuilding schools in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal, on our Disaster Relief Project. The earthquake that struck the country in April 2015 – and the subsequent aftershocks – destroyed dozens of schools and left thousands of children without a safe space to learn. With educational resources lost under the rubble and a nation left reeling, the education of Nepal’s children came to a sudden halt.
In the aftermath of the quake (and once immediate emergency responses had been completed), Projects Abroad launched a Disaster Relief Project to help rebuild schools in the Kathmandu area. Volunteers started signing up to help with relief efforts almost immediately. Nearly one month after the earthquake struck, the first group of volunteers began digging the foundations for Sunrise School, the first of six schools rebuilt by volunteers over the past year.
Karleen Stevens, an Australian volunteer, arrived during the first month of the project: “It was great to know that children who had their education disrupted would be able to return to classes again when we were finished. It wasn’t easy though, we had to build the foundations from scratch and we were working against the monsoon – several mornings we arrived to find a flooded and muddy worksite… But the optimism and enthusiasm of the team leaders and other volunteers was amazing and we carried on every day with lots of smiles and encouragement.”
The six schools have been built with the help of construction engineers, architects, local staff, and more than 450 volunteers. Assembled from the ground up and with a total of 65 classrooms, the construction of these schools has enabled over 1500 students to continue their education and more than 60 teachers to return to work.
Following the tremors, many children were scared to make use of regular buildings for fear of them collapsing. With this in mind, Projects Abroad staff and volunteers on the project prioritized safety above all and each school was built using earthquake-resistant, flexible structures and light zinc sheet roofs. They painted the walls with bright colors and added decorations to encourage a creative and playful space, where the children would feel secure and happy.
Although there is still a lot work to be done in Nepal, with the continued work of our dedicated staff and volunteers, we are confident that we can further our impact in schools and communities across the country.
“Our volunteers have been working on the Disaster Relief Project over the past year in heavy rains, floods, a fuel crisis, extreme heat, and low temperatures in the winter, pushing their strength and resistance in pursuit of helping others,” says Mircea Samoila, Operations Manager for Nepal. “It has all been worth it, not only thanks to the happiness of the children and the teachers but also thanks to the many lessons we learn about ourselves when giving of our time and energy for the benefit of our fellow human beings.”
Find out how you can contribute to our Disaster Relief work in Nepal and help more children return to school safely.