In the last year we have fundraised to provide desks, benches and whiteboards in a village called Baseri in Dhading district, to the west of Kathmandu. The village looks across into Gorkha district, which was the epicentre of the earthquake. So as you can imagine, this village was heavily effected by the quake.
Baseri is called a village but actually spans a whole mountain side and is divided into smaller sections. It can easily take over an hour to reach another section of the village by foot and can include some extreme ups and downs too.
In October 2019 we were back.
It was a priority to see first hand the equipment that we have provided to schools.
The most profound difference was at Shree Devisthan primary school, where last year we saw all classes sat on the floor, with no desks or benches and no equipment. This time the picture was very different with class two and three sat neatly at their desks, studying hard. They have also been given big blackboards from another source.
Class one and ‘playgroup’ still choose to sit on the floor as they find it easier for the smaller children, but they also have a new board.
The toilet has been rebuilt and a safe tap installed so that access to water is now easy… before there was just a small pipe from the floor. This have both been provided by another organisation.
It was so amazing to see such a stark difference.
We also provided 10 benches to Shivalaya Secondary School, a 40 minute walk down the mountainside. I’d never visited this school before so it was my first opportunity to experience it.
To say it was disorganised is an understatement; it was chaos! It may be just the moment that we arrived!
They have a new building in progress so are currently all crammed into a space much too small, with some classrooms divided into three using metal sheets. And temporary corrugated iron classrooms outside too.
It was great to see the benches in situ though, even if some were being used to run around!
They definitely do have some very old benches that are in need of replacing, but we will wait until they are in their new building next year to reassess what is actually necessary.
Baseri Secondary school is about one hour’s walk from where we stay with Sabin and his family, and the last part is up and up and up. So it’s high, and the view is amazing!
I walked there with Sabin, who knows all the schools and head teachers in the area, and we were joined by ex-student Sarita, who has now completed class 10 and moved to another school to continue studies.
One of the main buildings was severely damaged in the quake and has since been pulled down and a new building has been started. But it will be over a year until that is ready… so for now, class 1 to 9 are being taught in a temporary metal construction which currently has flooding in front of it so you have to walk across stepping stones to reach the classrooms.
Despite that, it’s a very organised school; children are at their desks in the makeshift classrooms and studying hard, it was nice to see one student being encouraged to go up to the board to complete a challenge.
This was the school that we supplied 8 whiteboards to earlier this year through Worldwide action and kind donator, Rachel, it was great to see them in use. The challenge is that each white board must be carried inside the surviving school building each afternoon to protect them and then carried down again each morning.
Once their new building is finished we will check back in to find out if there is any desperate need for equipment.