On April 25 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook central Nepal destroying entire communities, killing more than 8,800 people, displacing more than 500,000 people and leaving millions in need of hope and security. Weeks later on May 12, a 7.3 magnitude quake also struck eastern Nepal near Everest. Okhaldhunga district is directly below the second earthquake epicentre.
The school and community of 50 households in Chermading in Okhaldunga was shaken by the first earthquake and the second damaged and destroyed houses and totally destroyed the 12 classrooms in their local school.
NAFA worked with the Chermading community in 2013 when we assisted with the upgrade of their water piping and storage tanks bring water to community taps in the village.
In January 2014 NAFA representatives visited the village to assess the work and were then shown the 35 year old school. It was in a bad condition and in need of either repair or rebuilding. The walls were crumbling and damaged and the slate roofing tiles were cracked and leaking. The window shutters and doors were either broken or nonexistent allowing cold winds to blow in during the winter. The Government had not allocated funds to help the school fix these problems so they approached NAFA.
The community applied to NAFA for funding to repair 7 classrooms. This school acts as a hub school for 5 nearby villages who only have small primary schools going up to grade 3 or 5. The older children need to walk 1 to 1½ hours to Chermading to complete their schooling to class 10. This school which has 450 students attending and employing over 11 teachers plays an important role in the community.
In January of 2015 NAFA representatives again visited the village and were impressed with the repairs completed by the local villagers. New internal walls had been replastered with mud and lime wash. The old slate roof had been taken down and the slate was recycled as paving stones to seal the dirt floors in the classrooms. A new tin roof, doors and shutters had all been added to the classrooms. The students and teachers were very happy with their upgraded classrooms, they felt much more comfortable doing their schoolwork in a better environment.
The first earthquake caused minor damage but the second earthquake totally destroyed all of the classrooms. The renovations which were celebrated in January were now in ruins. The teacher are currently conducting classes in temporary classrooms.