Rebuilding Schools Featured
By Sunjuli Singh
Some children in Shree Manakamana Primary School in Dolakha were playing in round circles outside of the school building. Their parents were waiting for them to finish play so that they could take them back home.
Durga Shiwakoti is one of the students of grade two who studies in this school along with her two other siblings Saraswati and Bhagwati. These days, she loves to come to school to study and play ball, skip rope with her friends.
But there was a time when Durga used to be scared coming to school. The devastating earthquake that struck on 25 April 2015, damaged her school and many houses in her community including hers. The school building collapsed resulting in no classrooms for children to study.
Durga vividly remembers the time when they had no room to study in and instead had to stay in the open ground and sometimes under the tress for the entire day. So much so that she even had to walk about half an hour home if she wanted to use the toilet as her school toilet was in rubbles too. “Instead of walking home to use the toilet, I would just go to the jungle,” she says
Renuka Shiwakoti, who has been teaching in this school for the last 13 years, says she had never thought that she would have to experience such kind of days during her career as a teacher. “When there were aftershocks children would cry, shout and call for me saying Miss, I used to be scared too but at the same time, I had to take care of the students and their needs,” she adds.
Christian Aid and CEEPARD’s Support a boon
Children at Shree Manakamana Primary School now come to school on a regular basis following the reconstruction of their classrooms. Christian Aid in coordination with its local partner CEEPARD has built two class rooms and two toilets for the school so that children can study in a safer environment. “I feel safe to stay inside the newly built classroom and I like the doors and the windows,” Durga says. The smiles in the face of the children in the school and their keenness to stay there even after the school is over was really a sign of how safe they felt there and how they enjoyed being there.
Parents of the children also say that they feel confident enough to send their children to school as the class rooms have been constructed using the earthquake-resistant technique “As a parent, I think that all the children now have an environment where they can study better without fear,” Menuka Shiwakoti, mother of Durga says.
Christian Aid (CA) has been supporting schools affected by earthquake with infrastructure support, education materials and furniture in Dolakha, Gorkha, Sindhupalchok and Dhading districts.