Sankhu school gets new quake-resistant building
Jul 4, 2015-Fifteen-year-old Suroj Tamang, an eight grader at Shree Bandevi Lower Secondary School, was attending classes out in the open after the April 25 earthquake destroyed his school building.
But from Friday onwards, the students were glad to be sitting in regular classes once again in a new earthquake-resistant building, built on the initiation of Punya Bhandari, a programme coordinator at Youth Action Nepal.
“My house was fully destroyed by the quake. It was more depressing to see our school in rubble. I am happy that we at least have a new school building,” said Tamang, who has been living under a make-shift shelter made up of corrugated zinc sheets with his family.
The school lies on the top of the Manichud Jatra Naghi hill near Shivapuri National Park, 25 kilometres north-east from Kathmandu.
“We received no assistance and the District Education Office was very uncooperative. We had not been able to conduct regular classes,” said Buddhi Bahadur Tamang, principal of the school.
Students from three villages attend the school—Ghumari Chowk ward number 12, Lapsiphedi ward number 2 and 3 and Kalmel-4. Ninety-nine percent of the students are from Tamang community.
The new school building was built by villagers themselves. A sense of unity among the villagers could be seen while constructing the building. “The whole
village has turned into rubble after the quake, but our first priority was to re-build the school,” said Bir Bahadur Tamang, 42, whose three children have been studying in the school.
Bhandari had an interesting story behind his fund raising campaign for the school. “We randomly headed to Sankhu to visit the area following the second quake. This was when we came to know about the condition of the school,” he said.
He then went up to the school and took photographs, and later tweeted the school pictures explaining the difficulties faced by the students. This helped him raise Rs 625,000. “I had never thought that I would be able to raise such a huge amount,” he said.
The school, however, faces challenges. It does not have a library, computer lab or a science lab, and the principal says they are short of Science, Mathematics and English teachers. At present, there are 12 teachers—five with government appointment and seven teaching voluntarily.
“Thankfully, we got a building, but we don’t have enough teachers, and those who come with government appointment also transfer elsewhere. They do not prefer to
stay here since the area is quite remote,” he said. The bumpy road uphill from Sankhu that links the school is fully damaged.
“Only a handful of people have passed SLC in the village. Thus locals are not competent enough to teach. If we get better teachers and facilities we could make this school a model school in the village,” said principal Tamang.
Published: 05-07-2015 07:37