2019 promises to be an exciting year for CITC as 6 new and 2 refurbished classrooms, including gender friendly toilets are completed at Shree Sagarmatha Secondary School in the village of Bung.
The school serves around 800 local students and is one of the largest schools in the Everest Region, however despite serving such a huge population of children, the school has lacked adequate infrastructure and resources to sustain the requirements necessary to provide a high quality education. When CITC first approached the school in 2012, the students were found studying in temporary learning shelters built of bamboo and many of the students were found playing in the school ground, as they didn’t have teachers inside their classrooms. There were no basic sanitary facilities or a clean drinking water system at the school.
The devastating earthquakes of 2015 added more sorrows to the school. Out of 21 classrooms, 14 were completely destroyed with the Early Years classes suffering the most damage.In response to the urgent need for rehabilitation, in 2017, CITC with significant funding from an International Rotary Grant and the British Foreign Schools Society were able to open 4 earthquake resistant classrooms along with gender specific toilets and clean, safe drinking water. The new classrooms made a significant impact to the school and community but more needed to be done and as part of an extended support plan, CITC in partnership with The Rotary Global Grant, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Services, The British Foreign School Society and the Dudley Schools Partnership has been coordinating the construction of 6 brand new high quality, earthquake resistant classrooms and 2 refurbished classrooms along with sanitary facilities for the new buildings.Over the past few months a team of 20 highly skilled construction team members have worked tirelessly on the site. They have persevered to overcome a range of challenges not least due to the monsoon season and the inability to transport heavy machinery to prepare the site. Added to this, a huge rock the size of a classroom was discovered when preparing the foundations for the groundwork. Local labourers worked hard for a number of weeks to break down the rock with basic tools until finally an excavator was able to make it through the difficult terrain. After a further 2 days, the site was ready for the foundation work to continue, however the challenges didn’t end there as the workers had to drain water from the monsoons out of the pits dug for the foundations. The powerhouse had also been destroyed, cutting off electricity to the site, meaning that a generator had to be installed.The team however showed tremendous resilience and found ways to work around the demanding circumstances to continue with delivering the highest standard of construction possible, the school and community have expressed their pride in the team for their dedication.
Thanks to the efficient working of the construction team, the building work has been completed ahead of schedule, the high quality of the build is plain to see and mirrors CITC's Kharikola School Project with classrooms joined by a shared covered area, offering a practical design to provide the necessary space for all weather child centred activities. The Cheshire Fire Apprentices attended the official opening ceremony in March, which will be followed by a visit from representatives from the Dudley Schools partnership in April.The building project is part of a wider vision to improve the Early Years education at Shree Sagarmatha Secondary School. Once completed the school will not only receive new classrooms but will be equipped with the means to provide a high quality learning environment to benefit more than 200 Early Years students. The new classrooms will be a hub for the training and development of teachers to provide the best possible learning outcomes for the children.
Established in 1962, Shree Jeevan Jyoti Higher Secondary School was catastrophically damaged by the 2015 Earthquakes. Following site visits from CITC trustees, engineers and representatives of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, CITCNepal decided to work in partnership with Cheshire Fire and London Fire Cadets to raise over £100,000 for the rebuilding of 6 earthquake resistant classrooms over 2 storeys, an innovative design approved by the Ministry of Education’s post-earthquake constructions standards 'Building Back Better'. School Principal Janak Kumar Thapa spoke of the importance of the build in 2016 "If we are able to setup a new building at school firstly the student will be directly benefited. They will enjoy coming and sitting in the class. Teacher will be able to demonstrate educational materials and manage the class easily which finally lives to the quality education in the school. Similarly students from the neighboring school and VDC will also be interested to come in our school that helps to increase the number of students in the school. So to provided quality education it will be a mile stone for the school."
In 2017 the build was completed attracting many admiring comments, it is a unique and wonderful beacon for the local area. The exemplary standard of the construction is evident and is a credit to the construction team who worked through extraordinarily difficult conditions brought on by a particularly heavy monsoon season and the local community who pulled together to prepare the land. It will make a huge difference to the children of Kangel who, since the 2015 Earthquakes have been studying in inadequate, temporary shelters that are prone to overheating in the hot Nepalese sun and leaking during the monsoons. The new earthquake resistant classrooms will provide a fantastic learning environment where the children can be inspired to succeed in their education.
Clean water and gender specific toilets will be the second phase of this exciting development.
There has been much reason to celebrate in the remote village of Kharikhola, near Lukla as 4 new Early Years (ECED) classrooms at Shree Kharikhola Secondary School have been officially opened. The ambitious plans were completed to an exemplary earthquake resistant standard. The build has attracted great support from the local community who place a high value on education and credit must be given to them for working together preparing the land and carrying building materials.
The project was supported by the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Apprentices who not only worked hard to fundraise for the build but also travelled thousands of miles and trekked for days through challenging terrain to assist in the final stages. Once they arrived, they worked flat out completing jobs around the site including painting inside and out ready for the handover of the building. Read their blog here.
The new design sees two pairs of classrooms joined by a covered shared area; this practical design provides the necessary space for child centred activities to excite and engage the children, helping to foster enthusiasm and a love of learning.
The facility is now used by 100 ECED children but will ultimately benefit the whole school of 410 students as the new teaching methods cement a strong foundation for future educational practice.
Teaching and learning is monitored on an ongoing basis by CITC’s Education Support Worker. Advice, support and training is also being given to the teachers to ensure that learning opportunities are maximised and best practice is achieved.
Two gender specific toilet blocks, have also been completed on site.
An 8 classroom CITC building project has been completed In the remote rural village of Thulodhunga. The new classrooms replace a hopelessly inadequate 2 storey school built over 30 years ago on land donated by one of the village Elders. During the 2nd of the April 2015 earthquakes the children were in the old classrooms and had to flee just before the upper floor of the school collapsed. The new school was under construction at that point and was damaged but has been rebuilt incorporating improved earthquake resistance measures supported by a generous grant from the British Foreign School Society (BFSS).
Supporting the building work during one of the most challenging years in Nepal's recent history involved a huge effort from the small village community. Their tireless efforts ensured that the school opened on schedule in November 2015.
The school has been built through a wonderful partnership with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Fire Cadets who raised money for the construction of the classrooms and the culmination of their efforts was to travel to the remote village of Thulodhunga for the Opening Ceremony. To put into perspective the efforts of the Fire Cadets and the local community; this was one of very few, if not the first, schools to be opened since the earthquakes – an amazing achievement. Improvements are continuing at the school with the introduction of enhanced resources and a well stocked library.
The words of Dilkumar Rai a village elder convey the feelings of the community: "People of Thulodhunga village of Basa VDC Solukhumbu Nepal are now speechless to express their extreme happiness regarding this incomparable financial and physical contribution with full of sympathetic devotions upon their eternal prosperity."
A special mention must go to the British Foreign School Society and its Director Imogen Wilde who not only provided earthquake resistance measures at a point where the earthquake had risked halting building work, but BFSS have also committed to supporting the provision of gender specific toilets, hygiene facilities and clean water.
Shree Mahjgaun Lower Secondary School is in a small village to the north east of Kathmandu and has been rebuilt by Classrooms in the Clouds following the devastating earthquakes of 2015. 6 classrooms were originally opened in 2013 thanks to Peaks Foundations and Eastman (formerly Solutia) however the school was severely damaged in the Earthquakes.
CITC rebuilt the school using high quality, earthquake resistant construction methods and it was able to re open in 2016 stronger, more resilient and ready to serve the 109 students from Nursery to Grade 6. Huge thanks must be given to donors, Kirfaid, US, New Hampshire Nepalese Community US and donations from so many people around the world to the CITC Earthquake Recovery Fund.
"Rebuilding the school can secure the educational rights of the children in the village and they will not have to drop out from the school. You are not just building a school, you are contributing to the future of the kids studying here. Your small support can help us assure the right of every children to get quality education." - Principal Ramsaran Ghimire