Nepal Update - 2019
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.
Note: click on each to expand
Shree Dhansira Secondary School
The old site for the school was completely 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 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 have been "renting" land in the village for the temporary school but it is expensive.
A Japanese organisation – JICA - agreed to contribute to the building of the school. 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 employed a Nepali team of carpentry and stone masonry teachers (Skills Nepal) to help villagers to rebuild their homes themselves. TheSkills Nepal team 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 forebears. They have never had to build one and did not have the traditional skills required to restore the village's beautiful architectural design.
As of September 2019, most (though not all) villagers have rebuilt their homes in one form or another. Some are still under tarps and corrugated iron shelters.The school has finished stage 1 - 11 classrooms completed but are still to be heated and refurbished. This is our project for 2020.
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.