Nepal Update - 2016
From day one, Rising Nepal has received wonderful support from concerned people in Australia and abroad. We realised that our efforts there would not be a “quick fix” and we are in this for the long haul.
Below is a report from Judy Tenzing’s last visit to Nepal in March 2016:
Note: click on each to expand
Shree Dhansira Secondary School
The old site for the school is unsafe. It has 2 large, long stress cracks in it which opened up a metre deep during the quake and were filled in by the villages afterwards. Dhwoj arranged for a geological inspection and this site was deemed unsafe for rebuilding. The rest of the village and the new school site – on flattened terracing just above the village – is on a large, solid mass of rock which survived the quake intact and is unlikely to be affected by future quakes.
The new land was purchased by the village for USD 16,000. They raised half the money and borrowed half (at 26 % interest). Land was purchased in the name of the school. They are currently "renting" land in the village for the temporary school but it is expensive.
A Japanese organisation – JICA - has agreed to contribute to the building of the school (although it has taken 9 months to convince them not to build on the old site, which would have been cheaper). The original school had 22 classrooms. JICA has agreed to build 11 rooms for classes from Nursery to Class 10. A plan for the school building can be seen on a govt link www.doe.gov.np
Shree Dhansira Secondary School has 350 students from KG to Class 10 (about 80 less than pre quake as some families have left)
Village hopes for the school
The village would like to extend the school to offer beyond Class 8 (the current govt funded limit). They do have classes from 9-12 but the teachers have to be paid for by the village as the govt only pays for teachers up to Class 8. These 2 extra teachers cost around AUD 4,000 – 5,000 per year.
The government did distribute some funds post-quake – NC 1,000 per student (around AUD 20) and NC 25,000 per lost classroom. A total of 2 lakh (AUD 1200). All this money was pooled to buy land for the new school.
Dhwoj has employed a Nepali team of carpentry and stone masonry teachers to help villagers to rebuild their homes themselves. They spent for 4 months in the village and it has been very successful – especially since most of these villagers were living in houses built by their forbears. They have never had to build one and did not have the traditional skills required to restore the village's beautiful architectural design.
Currently most houses in the village are in post-quake temporary condition – tarps and light wooden frames. Some individuals have started to rebuild but poorer people cannot afford materials. There is still a lot of rubble and destroyed wooden material piled up.
Bhakanjee village was hit by the second quake on 12 May 2015 (7.3) and whilst not near the epicentre (as is Gyachchok) it was badly damaged. No govt aid has reached Bhakanjee, although there have been a couple of European and Canadian donors who are helping out with the school and with warm winter clothes etc. Rising Nepal has committed to taking on the rebuilding of the health post, which was not only destroyed in the quake but the only trained person who could man it sadly passed away from a stroke mid-2015.
The village of Bhakanjee is divided into two parts – upper and lower. Upper Bhakanjee is peopled by Sherpas, a relatively affluent and well-funded group in the Everest region. Lower Bhakanjee is about an hour walk (for locals!) downhill from upper Bhakanjee. Lower Bhakanjee is home to a mix of Chettri people (high caste but not wealthy) and Dalits (Untouchables). They receive little support from Upper Bhakanjee and the major NGOs working in the Everest region.
Bhakanjee Health Post
What is needed?
Set up Health Post - Requirements
In October 2016 a young Sydney doctor, Dr Sam Eather and his wife Britt, will travel to Nepal (at their own cost) to train two young Bhakanjee villagers as health post staff. He will give them basic diagnostic and first-aid training and help us set up the health post. At this stage we do not have funds to build the new post so we will make do with a local dwelling until we can set the clinic up properly. This is one of the main goals of our current fund-raising.
I visited the school and saw that finally some progress is being made in getting government permission to start repairs on the main building. This work has begun and should be done by the end of this year. In October 2016 the school's Director/Fundraiser Ms Shirley Blair will visit Sydney will visit Sydney to discuss ways in which Sydney / Australian schools can work with SMD and develop links which will benefit both Himalayan and Australian children. This visit is being co-ordinated by Ms Rosemary King of St Paul's Church, Burwood (a wonderful and ongoing supporter of Rising Nepal) and Mrs Barbara Stone, former principal of MLC School, Sydney. We hope that with our combined links we can encourage other schools to work with us and help SMD and the Himalayan children so in need of support.