In September 2011, an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale shook the Taplejung District of Eastern Nepal, claiming seven lives. Over 100,000 children were directly affected and a number of schools destroyed. The Himalayan Trust UK worked with the local communities and district educational authorities to cement the cracks and in some case totally rebuild the schools.
Then disaster struck again in 2015 when Nepal was struck by the Gorkha earthquake killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring 22,000. We launched an appeal to “Build Back Better” shortly after the earthquake focusing our efforts in three zones – Solukhumbu North, Solukhumbu South, and Taplejung. The programme includes building earthquake resiliency into building design. Our aim is to rebuild more than 165 new classrooms, equip them with sufficient toilet blocks and provide new water supplies by 2018.
Two years on (April 2017) we are extremely proud to be able to say that 102 classrooms have been rebuilt and around 4,500 students are enjoying being able to go back to school in much safer, earthquake resistant classrooms! It has taken many people collaborating together to get to this result, often working in very difficult weather conditions and on challenging terrains. We have had huge support from the local communities in the Taplejung and Solukhumbu districts. Their support ensures important buy in for the use of the schools for decades ahead.