We visited the Gorkha district to have our final meeting to confirm with the communities participating in the rebuilding efforts of Bhechak Primary school. This school has 60 students attending where they run their classes in a Temporary Learning Centres (TLC), which is essentially a tin shed 3m x 10m.
At this stage, the majority of students attend boarding school because the Bhechak Primary school can not accommodate for all the students in this district. The children of families that do not have enough money to go to school don’t attend at all.
This district is one of the closest to the earthquake’s epicenter. It destroyed 80% of the houses and schools. Access to this district requires two five-hour bus trips, and with the recent fuel crisis, it has made an already devastating situation unbelievably difficult to provide supplies.
Bhechak Primary school - Temporary Learning Center
At our final community meeting Om spoke Nepali, I could sense his eagerness to start the project as he knew the need for a permanent school was imperative for this district. “If the children in this district don’t have a school they are proud of, or a school that can accommodate them, how will they receive quality education? They won't, and no one will do anything about it,” Om shares.
Om’s our passionate Program Manager who assists 2 Pairs Project in all our rebuilding initiatives. He understands firsthand the importance of having a school with the right equipment, enthusiastic teachers, and most importantly community awareness on the importance of education.
Om holding the final community meeting
I’m proud to say, on that day, when I stood next to Om talking to the community to determine if Bhechak Primary school would be restored, the community collectively made a commitment to playing an active part in the rebuilding process.
This was our first project where local resources were used to build cost effective structures that are sustainable - Earthbag buildings. Given the logistical complexities with their geographical location coupled with the fuel crisis, local resources were imperative to our rebuilding process.
First stages of rebuilding
We hired locals to help rebuild and in this process we educated them on new methods of building. With the support of local engineers, these buildings are built to be earthquake resistant.
Earthbag building method at Bhachek
An Earthbag building uses rice bags filled with local soil, they are stacked and tamped flat - earthbags are the bricks for the building. Barbed wire is then placed between the bags that are stacked on top to avoid the bags from slipping and adds strength. Then finally, the earthbags are plastered to construct the walls. Earthbag buildings are also flood resistant.
Bhachek Primary school completed
We have now completed all rebuilding work at Bhachek Primary school and all the students and teachers are enjoying the classrooms and equipment provided. The community learned new skills and during the rebuilding process, and through community sessions, we continued building awareness on the importance of education for future children within this district.We are proud to say that Bhachek now has a higher school attendance rate and the community is engaged in their children's future.