The Long Road

 

Tilicho Lake (4900m) in Manang, Nepal. Autumn in Nepal is spectacular – the perfect time to begin our new projects!

After months of rain, the monsoon has finally yielded to beautiful fall weather in Nepal, and we are ready to start another busy year of construction. Over the past year, we have made significant progress on our community recovery plan by helping our local partner communities recover and rebuild after the disastrous earthquakes of 2015.

Binda Rai from Sishu School in Maheswori is happy to study in a new school.

Since last fall, we have finished rebuilding 8 schools damaged by the earthquakes using Light Gauge Steel (LGS) and Mild Steel (MS) Truss technologies – both earthquake-resistant structures.

The 8 schools rebuilt in 2016/17 on

More than 500 students from these 8 schools recently moved into 40 bright and spacious new earthquake safe-classrooms afters spending the last two years attending school in temporary classrooms made of bamboo and roofing tin.

In the video below, you can hear from parents, teachers, and students who talk about how these new schools have helped them recover from the devastation of the earthquakes.

Following the earthquakes, our school construction work increased by double since most of the schools in the region were destroyed or deemed unsafe to use. Although community members were excited to have their children study in safe schools again, they also expressed sadness over how many trees had to be cut down to build the new schools. After listening to the communities’ concerns, together we decided to plant three trees for every one we cut down for timber. Students, teachers, and other community members are proud of this initiative and many people participate when we plant the trees.

In addition to the schools we rebuilt, we also completed 1 irrigation project that benefits 60 households, and 6 drinking water projects that now provide 127 families with access to safe drinking water within ten minutes of their homes.

We used to have acute water shortages here. It was so difficult to get water for the household. We had to go to a stream which was on a steep slope. In monsoon, it was very slippery, full of leeches and the water was also dirty. Now, after this project, it has been so much easier. Especially for me, in my old age, this tap next to my house has been a blessing.

83 year old Rinji Sherpa from Beuma shared her thoughts with us after we completed the drinking project in her community.

Rinji Sherpa in Beuma is very happy to have this tap stand near her home.

 

Similar to previous years, community members voluntarily contributed a significant amount of labor and materials to these projects. Communities in our project area contributed a total of 14,793 days of labor in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. When valued at local rates, this is equivalent to $110,401.57 USD! This represents 23% of our total project budget for the whole year, making our community partners dZi’s largest single donor group.

Community members volunteering for the construction of the Janakalyan Primary School.

We are currently preparing the final paperwork for our upcoming projects. We just finished our annual audit and are making Public Audit Banner for all our construction projects. In 2017/18, we will finish rebuilding 10 schools; construct 3 drinking water systems and 1 irrigation project; launch our smokeless cook stove campaign by helping 1,100 families build Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) in their homes; and add 720 new farmers to our ongoing agriculture program. We just finished celebrating the big festivals of Dashain, and Tihar- the festival of lights. We are so excited to kick off our construction season in the best of spirits.

If you would like to support our work in Nepal, specifically if you want to help us rebuild a school, there’s a matching grant opportunity provided by our friends from Mexicali Blues to raise money for Janajagriti School reconstruction. For every dollar that you donate, Mexicali Blues will be matching you dollar for dollar making your support go twice as far. Visit http://dzi.org/mexicali/ in our website.

Keep up with our journey through our Facebook and Instagram updates!

 

 

Earthquake Reconstruction Update – April 2017

It has been almost two years since the devastating earthquakes of 2015 hit Nepal, destroying 500,000 homes and taking nearly 9,000 lives. Like nearly everyone in Nepal we at dZi, along with our local partner communities in the remote mountain districts of Khotang and Solukhumbu,  are still putting the pieces back together.

Our earthquake recovery plan focuses upon reconstructing local schools that were damaged by the earthquakes and providing income generation opportunities for families that have lost their homes. We set an ambitious goal of ensuring that all children in our partner communities are studying in safe classrooms. This meant rebuilding 28 schools in total (reduced from our initial goal of 31, due to the limited presence of other donors and subsequent assessments of all schools during our feasibility study).

In 2016 we finished rebuilding 9 schools, and our goal for 2017 is to complete another 8 using new Light Gauge Steel technology. We are well on our way and for some, like Shishu High School in Maheswori, the community started rebuilding early and has already completed half of the new classrooms.

Shishu High School, Maheswori

In the photo below a local community member transports Light Gauge Steel (LGS) trusses to the construction site of Sidda Kanya Lower Secondary School in Rakha.

Between January and March 2017, community members like him from across our partner communities have transported thousands of these LGS pieces from the nearest roads to the school sites. Transportation by foot takes half a day for the schools situated closest to the end of the dirt roads, and for others it can take up to a day and a half.

The LGS trusses being transported by tractors on the new dusty roads of Khotang. These pieces are for the Himalayan Primary School in Sungdel.

LGS is a new technology in Nepal although it is popular in many other countries for its lightness, ease of assembly, and earthquake safety. Another advantage of this technology is that the whole structure is portable – we can shift it easily from one place to another when required. This is especially important for schools in the hills and mountains where the ground might give out or where landslides or floods might endanger the schools and students.

We plan to finish the majority of construction before the monsoon rains begin in Nepal. The biggest challenge so far has been the transportation of the LGS trusses to the school sites. At this point though, all of the parts have either reached the construction sites or are en route, and the trusses for the last LGS school will be transported within the next week. Check out the video below to see how rebar required for our school construction is transported on foot by community members.

 

Community members have also been busy collecting local materials like gravel and stone for the schools, while mules are currently transporting the remaining construction materials such as plywood, glass wool, cement, and sand. People in these communities are working rapidly to complete the schools as soon as possible. We are concerned about the upcoming local elections, which are scheduled to be held on May 14. If the elections take place as planned, they may disrupt or slow down our construction activities.

Construction site of Himalayan Primary School in Sotang
Mules transporting external materials like cement and sand
Local community members carrying stones to the construction site of Basuki School in Gudel

Our technicians Raj Kumar, Chhatra and Subindra are working around the clock to train and oversee local masons in using this new technology. There have been several times when we had to redo a section, but overall this technology has been really well-received by the communities and readily adopted. In the following photos, our technician Subindra guides and teaches the construction crew how to assemble the LGS frames.

LGS fitting in Siddakanya School

After the completion of all 8 schools, we will have built more than 40 classrooms that will allow around 500 students who are currently studying in vulnerable or temporary learning centers to move into new, bright earthquake safe classrooms.

Students and teachers in front of the Temporary Learning Center in Panchakanya School, Susla. We are rebuilding this school now.
A student of Panchakanya School stands in front of her damaged school room. This is one of the 8 schools that we are rebuilding currently.

Livelihoods Support

We also provided direct support to 419 families that lost everything during the earthquake. Instead of providing direct handouts, we wanted to give the family members an opportunity to recover on their own terms and to have a sustainable means of support. We extended three types of support to these households: free agricultural materials and trainings; free seeds and training for market vegetable crops; and focused training and seedlings for high-value cash crops including cardamon, ginger, turmeric and hot peppers. 

 A local farmer with a batch of cardamon seedlings

Tarasur Rai lost his home during the earthquake and was left with little option to feed his family and rebuild his home. Already he has earned about $200 in new income from selling ginger. He has also begun to experiment with potato farming this year and has become successful in harvesting a lot of potatoes. He hopes to earn more than $400 from the potatoes this year alone. Pictured is Tarasur in his attic where he has stored all the potatoes and we can also see the massive crack that was formed in his house by the quake.

 

Punarsingh Rai lives alone, having lost his wife and family. Inspired by our support and with technical help from our staff, he has already started earning income from many of his farm products. He made around $100 from bitter gourd sales alone. Here in the photo, he poses with his pile of turmeric that he recently harvested. We supported him with turmeric seed as part of the earthquake package. He will earn about $100 from the turmeric this year.

 

While these numbers are only in the hundreds of dollars, this is a massive amount in the current context of Nepal, and a good start in terms of financial and personal empowerment!

Follow us in our social media networks, facebook, instagram and twitter to stay updated.

 

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Rebuilding Schools

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Schools across Nepal were dangerous, even before the earthquake that struck nearly one year ago. Had the quake not come on a Saturday afternoon – the only day when school is not in session – tens, if not hundreds of thousands of students would have likely lost their lives. The photo above shows the cracked walls of the Janahit Primary School in the village of Rakha, and was taken before the earthquake. The building is now just a pile of rubble.

We were planning to reconstruct this school building this year anyways, and shudder to think of what would have happened had children been in the building when the ground started shaking.

In our very focused working area of 7 communities, the Earthquake damaged a total of 36 schools. This represents only a fraction of the devastation all across the middle-hills of Nepal. Besides schools, personal homes, drinking water, rural trails and other vital infrastructure have been severely damaged.

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Chandra School in Sungdel which is standing but is far too risky to use anymore.

Our Earthquake reconstruction drive includes rebuilding the Janahit school, and 30 others in remote communities of Khotang and Solukhumbu districts. This will take us 3 years to complete. This year, we have broken ground on 9 schools already.

Immediately after the earthquake, we mobilized our resources to support continuation of classes in by constructing 40 Temporary Learning Centers, using roofing tin that can be recycled in the final school construction. As the rainy season was just around the corner, building TLCs  enabled us to provide immediate shelter and continued education for over 2,000 students. It is quite impossible in the Nepali hills to start any solid construction work during the monsoon which is one of the reasons our work for building permanent school buildings did not start immediately after the quake.

 

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Students inside a Temporary Learning Center (TLC) in Solukhumbu

Meanwhile, we worked on several earthquake safe school building designs to improve upon our existing model. Our technician Raj Kumar Rai, with consultation from various quarters, finalized three different school designs. Then, we faced an even more daunting task – getting approval from the Nepal Government.

After the quake, the Nepal Government was overwhelmed with reconstruction work, and unfortunately mired down in political conflicts. After four months of diligent work, we finally received approval for our proven reinforced stone masonry designs and we immediately started working overtime to get all nine schools built before the monsoon rains arrive.

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Rajkumar and Chokpa pose with the Government’s approval letter. Finally!

Besides the bureaucracy, Nepal’s almost half a year long political instability together with the “unofficial blockade” in the Indo-Nepal border made it almost impossible for any real construction work to begin anywhere in Nepal due to acute fuel and material shortages.

As the blockade has now been lifted, and we have the green signal from Government to go ahead, we have now started reconstruction in earnest. Work has started in all the 9 schools. Collection of local materials – wood, stone, aggregates have almost completed for all the school. Below short video shows community members donating their labor to collect stones for Hunga Lower Secondary School in Gudel.

A video posted by dZi Foundation (@dzifoundation) on

We have already finished all site preparation and the foundations for all 9 schools are dug. We are optimistic that we will have them all completed by the end of June.

Community members working in school reconstruction in various schools

Our technicians, social mobilizer, and partner NGOs are working round the clock mobilize the community and to check progress on the schools. Our technicians are specially alert to monitor  every aspect of the construction process and to uphold our strict quality standards – thus ensuring that the schools will be safe during the next quake.

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Top: Rajkumar gives orientation to the community about earthquake safe school building. Bottom: Chhatra, another of our technician, checks accuracy of ground excavation work.

As a first and necessary step, our technicians trained community members and local dZi staff about the basics of earthquake safe technology. We focused specially on local masons and all dZi staff have now been taught to read basic engineering drawings, and to assist the local masons in interpreting the design documents.

We are working day and night to finish these 9 schools so that we can start working on the next phase of reconstructing 11 schools in July. We have to thank all our generous friends and donors from around the world who has made it possible for us to respond to the need of the community so swiftly. Stay tuned for more updates about our school reconstruction work.

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Girls in Gudel inspect their school building being constructed with much curiosity.

 

छेस्कामको शान

“किसानको शान इकोसान, इकोसान भिलेज छेस्कामको पहिचान”

 

gau
 रमणिय गाउँ छेस्कामको एक झलक

कर्णाली क्षेत्र जत्तिकै विकट सोलुखुम्बु जिल्लाको चाम्लाङ हिमाल र मेरापिक हिमालको फेदीमा अवस्थित गा.वि.स. हो छेस्काम जुन सोलु सदरमुकाम सल्लेरीबाट १८ कोष टाढा छ । प्राकृतिक सुन्दरताले भरीपुर्ण भएपनि सरकारी कार्यक्रम तथा विकासबाट दुरदराज रहनु छेस्कामको तितो यथार्थ हो । राम्रो स्वास्थ्य उपचार पाउनलाई तीन चार दिनको पैदल यात्रा गए मात्र सम्भावना रहेको र यातायातको पहुँच नपुगेको ठाँउ हो । यस गा.वि.स.मा २०५६ साल तिर झाडापखाला, हैजाले धेरै मान्छेको मृत्यु समेत भएको दर्दनाक इतिहास छँदैछ । बच्चा जन्माउन समस्या भएर उपचारमा लैजादा बाटैमा उपचार नपाएर मृत्यु भएको कैयन उदाहरण घर घरको थियो । विगत २ बर्ष अगाडीसम्म सरसफाईको क्षेत्रमा समेत त्यति प्रगति भएको थिएन । विगतका समयमा यहाँका समुदायहरु चर्पीको विकल्पमा सुँगुरको खोरमा तथा खुला ठाँउमा दिसा पिसाव गरिरहेको अवस्था थियो । वातावरण प्रदुषण भएर आउ, हैजा, झाडापखाला जस्ता रोगका कारण बालबालिकाहरु बिरामी हुनु सामान्य झैं थियो । परम्परागत कृषि प्राणाली अपनाएर समुदायहरु जिविको पार्जन गरिरहेको भेटिन्थ्यो तर आज छेस्कामले मुहार फेरेको छ । मेरो गाउँ छेस्काम जो सोलुखुम्बु कै विकट भनेर भनिन्थ्यो तर मिती २०७२ मंसिर २९ मा यो जिल्ला कै १३ औ खुला दिसा मुक्त क्षेत्र तथा नेपालकै पहिलो इकोसान भिलेज घोषणा भएको छ । हामी सबै छेस्कामवासीहरुको लागि यो दिन गर्व र खुशीको विषय हो ।

ODF
बिद्यालयको अगुवाइमा खुल्ला दिशामुक्त क्षेत्र र सरसफाइ अभियान सुरु गर्दै

 

तर यो दिनै यसै आएको भने हैन । वास्तवमै समुदायको विकास र परिवर्तन हु्न चेतना स्तरमा विकास हुन आवश्यक छ । चेतनाको विकास भए पश्चात समुदाय आफु र आफैबाट परिवर्तन गर्न सक्छन् भन्ने मैले यो दुई वर्षमा सिकें । सन् २०११ देखि छेस्काम गा.वि.स.मा जि फाउन्डेशन स्थानिय संस्था नव युग एकता विकाससंग साझेदारी  गरी कार्य क्षेत्र बनाई भित्रियो । “दिगो विकास हाम्रो प्रयास” भन्ने मुल नाराको साथमा स्वास्थ्य, शिक्षा, कृषि, आयआर्जनको क्षेत्रमा कार्यक्रम सञ्चालन गर्ने क्रममा स्थानियको माग र नवयुग एकता विकास समितिको प्रस्तावना अनुसार सन् २०१४ मा इकोसान शौचालय निर्माण परियोजनालाई प्राथमिकतामा राखि सोही अनुसार शौचालय कार्यक्रम छेस्काममा शुरु भएको थियो । इकोसान चर्पी भनेको पिसाब लाई बेग्लै  सन्कलन गरी पिसाब मलको रुपमा प्रयोग गर्न मिल्ने चर्पी हो ।

Khagendra kulung chheskam 3 final for description for social media
खगेन्द्र कुलुङको फुलैफुलले सजिएको चर्पी । अब छेस्कामको प्रत्येक घरमा यस्तै पिसाबको पुनर्प्रयोग गर्न मिल्ने इको सान चर्पी छ ।

सन् २०१४ मा छेस्काम १, २ र ६ वडामा ४०० वटा र सन् २०१५ मा ३७६ वटा गरी जम्मा ७७६ वटा इकोसान चर्पी निर्माण परियोजना सञ्चालन भयो । जसमध्ये जि फाउन्डेशनले नवयुग एकता विकास समितिमार्फत बाह्य सामाग्रीका लागि एउटा चर्पी वरावर रु १६,५२५।–सहयोग गरेको छ भने स्थानियले एउटा चर्पी बरावर रु ५७,३००।– बरावरको आफ्नो श्रमदान गरेका छन् । चर्पी निर्माण फाईदा, वालीमा पिसाव प्रयोग, बिद्यालयको अगुवाईमा पुर्ण सरसफाई अभिमुखिकरण कार्यक्रम सञ्चालन गरी समुदायको चेतना अभिबृद्धि गराईएको थियो । इकोसान भिलेजको लागि गा.वि.स.मा रहेका वाटरशिल चर्पी हुनेहरुलाई पिसावको महत्व, फाईदा र प्रयोग गर्ने बिधि वारे अभिमुखिकरण गरी पिसाव संकलन ड्रम, टिटि वल, सोली समेत वितरण गरिएको थियो । २०१५ मा सोलुखुम्बु जिल्लालाई नै खुला दिसा मुक्त क्षेत्र घोषणा गर्ने लक्ष्यलाई सार्थकता तुल्याउन स्थानिय सरोकारवालासंग समन्वयन गरी कार्यक्रम लागु गरिएको थियो ।
हाल सबै घरले चर्पी निर्माण सम्पन्न गरीे प्रयोग गरीरहेको अवस्था छ । शौचालयबाट निस्केको पिसाब ड्रमबाट संकलन गरी बालीमा पिसाव प्रयोग गरिरहेको अवस्था छ भने जि फाउन्डेशनको सहयोगमा सञ्चालित कृषि कार्यक्रम अन्तरगत एक घर एक करेसावारीमा पिसावको प्रयोगले अत्यन्तै राम्रो तरकारी उत्पादन भईरहेको छ । सरसफाई प्रर्बद्धन भएको अवस्था देखिन थालेका छन् । पर्यावरणिय तथा वातावरण सरसफाईमा चर्पी निर्माण पश्चात सकरात्मक परिवर्तन भएको छ । परिवर्तन आफैबाट शुरुवात गर्नु पर्छ भन्ने भनाईलाई सार्थकता तुल्याउदै विद्यालय सेवा क्षेत्रमा वाल ल्कवको अगुवाईमा सरसफाईमा प्रर्बद्धन तथा चर्पी निर्माण गराई पुर्ण रुपमा बिद्यालय सेवा क्षेत्रलाई खुला दिसामुक्त तथा इकोसान भिलेज घोषणा गरिएको छ ।

sarala kulung
 सरला कुलुङ र उन्को श्रीमान करेशाबारीमा पिसाब मलको प्रयोग गर्दै ।

गाँउ, टोल र समुदायमा परिवर्तन आएकोले वातावरण सफा अनि सुन्दर देखिन थालेको छ । घर घरमा इकोसान चर्पीले छुट्टै पहिचान ल्याएको छ । कृषि, स्वास्थ्य, सरसफाई, पोषण, वातावरणमा सकारात्मक परिवर्तन गरी पर्यटक प्रर्बद्धनमा समेत टेवा पुग्ने बिश्वास बढेको छ ।। छेस्काम स्वास्थ्य चौकीका अ.हे.व. नरेन्द्र कठायतकोअ नुसार चर्पी निर्माण र प्रयोग पश्चात स्वास्थ्य चौकीमा बिरामीहरु पनि कमी भएको छ । समुदायमा सुङुरको खोर र खुला ठाँउमा दिसा पिसाव गर्नु हुदैन, चर्पीको प्रयाोग गर्नु पर्छ भन्ने चेतना अभिबृद्धि भएकोछ । वातावरण सरसफाईको क्षेत्रमा जस्तै बाटोघाटो, खोल्सा खोल्सी, घर वरपर, व्यक्तिगत , घरायसी र वातावरणीय सरसफाईको क्षेत्रमा समेत समुदाय लागिपरेको देखिन्छन् । जसले गर्दा पर्यावरणिय तथा वातावरणिय सरसफाईमा सकारात्मक प्रभाव देखिन थालेको छ । फोहोर व्यवस्थापन चक्रलाई अपनाउन थालेको अवस्था छ ।

Toilet
छेस्कामको मामेर्कुका स्थानिय आफ्नो चर्पी अगाडि । पोहोर नै इको टोल र खुल्ला दिशा मुक्त भैसकेको मामेर्कुमा यहाँहरुलाई स्वागत छ ।

अहिले भन्दा सजिलो भएपनि समुदायलाई परिवर्तन गर्न र कार्यक्रम कार्यान्वयन गर्न कम चुनौति पुर्ण थिएन । विभिन्न चरणमा समुदायको चेतना अभिबृद्धि हुने खालका अभिमुखिकरण कार्यक्रम सञ्चालन गरिएको थियो । अनुगमन, मुल्याङ्कन र समुदाय परिचालनमा अत्यन्तै महत्वपुर्ण भुमिका निर्वाह गरिएको थियो । समुदायको सामाजिक परिचालक भएका नाताले र शौचालय निर्माण संगसंगै अन्य परियोजना पनि लागु भइरहेकोले आफ्नो धेरै भन्दा धेरै समय वार्ड वार्ड डुल्ने काम भएको थियो । कहिलेकाँही आफ्नो दौडधुप सम्झिदा थकान महशुस हुन्छ तर आज आफ्नो गाउँ नेपालकै नमुना भइरहेको सम्झिदा भने दौडधुपको मिठो फल पाएको झैं लाग्छ ।

bina toilet
बिना कुलुङ आफ्नो चर्पी निर्वानाधिन अवस्थामा र सम्पन्न भैसके पछी ।

खुला दिसामुक्त तथा इकोसान भिलेज भएपछि गाउँको विकासमा छुट्टैे आयाम थपिने स्थानिय सबैको विश्वास छ । हाल यहाँको समुदायमा चेतना, एकता र विकास प्रतिको मोह उच्च भएको पाएको छु र यसै प्रेरणाले छेस्काम आगामी दिनमा समुदाय विकासमा झन् लम्किने छ भन्नेमा मलाई पुर्ण विश्वास छ ।

Prashant Biswokarma

लेखक
प्रशान्त विश्वकर्मा
जि फाउन्डेशन सामाजिक परिचालक र छेस्काम बासिन्दा

 

A small measure goes a long way!

shivatar DW
Girls do their Saturday washing in the public tap in Sotang (photo taken before the earthquake).

Sotang is the chief trade and commercial hub for the areas where we work in the northeastern valleys of Solukhumbu district. The weekly Friday market alone draws over 5,000 people from the neighboring villages including from Gudel, Chheskam and Bung. The market itself is held in the main center of Sotang called Shivatar (Fustel in the original Nachhiring Rai languague).


In 2013, our local NGO partner in Sotang realized that there was a dire need to build a public toilet and drinking water system in the market area if they were to maintain their Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. They sent us a proposal, and we supported the construction of a 4-room public toilet and a public tap stand adjacent to the Friday market spot.

During the weekend, the toilet is primarily used by market goers. On other days, the local school makes use of it. The school and the market management committee jointly clean and maintains the toilet now.

public toilet in sotang
The Public Toilet just after the construction was finished in December 2013.

The public tap stand has been providing free and clean drinking water to the market goers and community members. Local residents close to the market center use it for drinking, cleaning and washing.

Sotang was heavily affected by the recent earthquake, and one of the most impacted communities in the entire district. There were dry landslides in many places of Sotang during the second quake on May 12, which were followed by many landslides once the monsoon rains saturated the already-weakened soils. Many houses were destroyed, and the public tap stand in the Shivatar market also fell victim to this.

shivatar WSP damaged (2)
The public tap stand was almost swept away by landslide triggered by continuous rainfall.

The landslide exposed all the buried pipelines and also fractured the land where the main reserve tank was situated. The water supply and the toilet are fed by the same source located a few meters above the tapstand, and immediate repair was imperative. Otherwise both the toilets and taps would have been destroyed.

The local community was prompt to respond, and quickly raised 20,000 rupees ($200 USD) to repair the pipes and divert the landslide. This cost  was kept low because many community members pitched in and worked despite the heavy rains.

repairing1
The repair work shown by arrows. The reserve tank is located at the top- now surrounded by protective fences.

 

Sibatar WSP repaired
Recent picture of the tap and the reserve tank after the repairing was complete.

“Not only did we repair the damage, we also cleaned the whole market area that day”, says Prithvi Bahadur Thapa the chair of the Market Management Committee.

Handing over projects and ensuring local buy-in is the most difficult aspect of our work. We are proud that the community in Sotang identified and solved this problem on their own, despite all of the other challenges caused by the earthquake. This demonstrates that they truly own and value the project and while the overall budget for this initiative was small – what it represents is invaluable.

Making safe study space for children

“Now that we have these strong temporary learning centers, we teachers can also teach students without fear. Students will not be scared anymore, and neither will the parents hesitate to send kids to school. So we all are very happy”.

– Ram Bahadur Basnet, Principal of Narkel Primary School in Sotang

kusang
Father and daughter take a look inside the TLC in Rakha

We work in 7 of the most remote communities in East Nepal – some of which takes up to three days on foot to reach from the nearest air strip or dirt roads. Life is already hard here, which was made much harder after the strong earthquakes of April 25 and May 12. Around 70% homes have been damaged, agricultural lands have deep fissures, and some of the most important public infrastructure like schools and drinking waters have been severely affected. In these 7 communities alone, 36 out of 45 schools have been damaged by the quake.

yuwa sml
The collapsed building of Yuba Jyoti Primary School in Dipsung.

We worked with our local NGO partners to deliver much needed tarpaulins in the first phase of quake so that people could have at least a temporary shelter to protect themselves. Then we moved swiftly to address the second most pressing problem of the community here – building Temporary Learning Center (TLC) for schools damaged by the earthquake so that children could get back to school as soon as possible. We have extended these emergency supports to another two neighboring communities – Bung and Jaleswori.

tent
Mule train dispatching the tarpaulins

Our Civil Technician Raj Kumar Rai visited every school in the 9 communities since the May 12 earthquake to assess their safety status so that we know if building a TLC was necessary or not. During the initial phase, the TLC number was for around 35 schools but as Rajkumar spent more time and reached schools in the farthest corner of these communities the total number is now 40.

Building a TLC for a primary school with classes from 1 to 5 takes about a week for about half a dozen people. The first construction training was given by Rajkumar to 30 community members from different areas who then went back to their villages and started collecting materials required for building. The TLC design follows the Government guideline closely, only difference being use of roofing tins for walls. After the monsoon is over, these tins are going to be in short supply as reconstruction of personal homes as well as public infrastructure will start in earnest. Stocking these tins as part of the TLC structure will ensure that once we start Permanent School building construction, these tins can be utilized. That is why Rajkumar was extra sure to come up with a design that involved only tying up these tins with small steel wires and not actually drill nail sized holes in them.

DSC03584
Putting up the finishing touches

Completing TLC in 40 schools that were spread out in geographically impossible terrain was no easy work. Our field staffs, community members and NGO partners worked day and night in every kind of weather to ensure that they were completed on time.

_MG_8333
Mani Kumar Rai- a community member from Khotang who was supervising TLC construction is jumping from stone to stone to cross this stream to reach yet one of the schools. A temporary bamboo bridge was there but it has already been washed away by the river. He has his slippers on one hand.
_MG_8291
Local community members working in a foggy, cold and rainy weather

We have now constructed 40 TLCs with 127 classrooms that will ensure safe and comfortable environment for 2608 students from 9 Village Development Committee in 40 villages. In many of these schools, classes are already running in the TLC where as in some, classes will resume from the second week of August after the summer holidays.

5. TLC Using at Ja ja at sotang rok
Classes being run in Jana Jagriti School, Sotang
4. Happy Parrents,Teacher and Students. Jana jagriti S
Parents, teachers and students post outside the school.

We would like to thank our friends and organizations from around the globe who helped us in making relief and the subsequent intermediate recovery possible.

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TLC: Teach, Love, Care!

While Nepal is no longer in the news, here Monsoon season has begun and our partner communities, in the wake of the recent earthquakes, are preparing for an intense and prolonged precipitation. Amazingly, roughly 80% of Nepal’s annual precipitation falls from June to September. We, accordingly, are going full speed with responding to the most urgent need of the community right now- creating safe shelter for students to study in during monsoon. And there comes our buzz word of the season TLC or Temporary Learning Centers.

Our initial relief effort after the Earthquakes focused on getting 3300 tarps into our working areas of Khotang and Solukhumbu, including two neighboring areas where we had not worked before.

tent
Mule train carries tarpaulins to Bung and Chheskam in Solukhumbu

Until last week, our team members were scattered around every corner of our working area, sitting down with community members to listen to their pain, and to ask about their plans for recovering from the terrible earthquakes. One serious issue is rebuilding homes.

2
People with raised hands have their houses completely destroyed by the Quake

 

Many villagers have initiated the process without any external support, with neighbors helping each other out. But most people expressed that if the Government or other organizations could teach them Earthquake safe building technology, they wouldn’t have to build weak homes like before. They want to build safe homes, but just don’t know how. Since we have been building earthquake resistant schools since 2012, it has helped many local masons learn the technology. We hope that further expanding our school construction to almost 20 schools will help many more village masons learn this important, life saving technology. But for now, we have to establish temporary centers for all these damaged schools as the rain will make any other kind of construction activity impossible.

We and our local partner NGOs have been busy purchasing and transporting bulk quantities of roofing tin to help in the construction of Temporary Learning Centers (TLCs). Unfortunately, over 30 schools in our working areas were significantly damaged or destroyed in the April and May earthquakes. We feel one of the most important things dZi Foundation can do in the short term is to ensure children get back in school as quickly and safely as possible. Here is a photo of just one out of many such damaged schools which need urgent attention.

The Shree Chandra School in Sungdel, Khotang looks like an average rural Nepali school: old and dilapidated, but usable. Sadly, this school has suffered considerable damage from the two powerful quakes, although this is not visible straightaway. The quakes caused major cracks in all the inside walls, while bits of wall and ceiling continue to fall down.

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Collage showing the exterior and interior of Shree Chandra School

Our field team including Civil Technician Rajkumar Rai has been walking from one village to the next  assessing damage in schools, and supervising the construction of TLCs.

_MG_7765
Our Technician Rajkumar(L) shares an early morning tea with a young community member. The tent is his home.

 

The first TLC was finished in Lidhunga Primary School of Sotang on June 14, where over two dozen participants from our different working areas came to learn the technique and design from Rajkumar. Now, these participants have gone back to their villages and started the process of construction.  Rajkumar will travel to each of these places to supervise and monitor the work.

TLC1
The complete Temporary Learning Center (Green roof) in Lidhunga with the damaged school building (red roof)

With TLCs up and children back in school safe and dry, the next step for community members will be to knock down the old school building and clear the lot. As soon as the Monsoon season ends, we will begin rebuilding many schools using earthquake resistant technology, which will help teach villagers how to rebuild their homes similarly.

As of today (June 19),  community members have finished TLCs for two more damaged schools in Sotang. We now have 3 down, and only 34 more to go!

Here are some more photos of the process involved in setting up a TLC.

Structure of TLC
Bamboo poles or wooden poles go first as the primary reinforcement
TLC2
Then follows bamboo frames for roof and walls.

 

TLC 1
Then finally, roofing tins all over the bamboo frame except in doors and windows.
5. TLC Using at Ja ja at sotang rok
Classes run as usual inside a TLC in Solukhumbu.

Help us rebuild 28 schools!

Help the dZi Foundation Rebuild 28 Schools in Nepal

School-in-Need_dZi-Foundation--November-05,-201400030_S0A6999

 

 

The Earthquake

As you’ve seen in countless headlines and news stories, Nepal was hit with two deadly earthquakes, one on April 25 and another on May 12, 2015. Nearly 9,000 people have lost their lives and the Nepali government estimates that the death toll could cross 10,000 once all rescue and recovery efforts are completed. While the destruction in the capital city of Kathmandu received the most media attention, the remote villages in the mountains of Nepal have suffered the most. Here, local homes and public infrastructure has been wiped out, and there are still many communities that have yet to receive any aid or assistance whatsoever.

dZi Foundation

dZi Foundation has been working in the most remote communities of Nepal since 1998. Even before the devastating earthquakes, the areas in which we work took up to three long days on foot to reach from the closest road, district headquarters, and international aid service providers. Our mission has not changed, but the need for our services has increased tremendously.

dZi works in partnership with remote communities in Nepal to create lasting improvements in their quality of life. For almost two decades we have been invited into local communities and partnered with them to meet their most pressing needs – including constructing local infrastructure such as schools, toilets, drinking water systems, and bridges. We have also provided training on essential soft skills such as agricultural training to increase incomes and food security, and forming parent teacher associations at local schools.

Four years ago, we began engineering all of our public buildings to a high standard of earthquake-resistance, and retro-fitted existing infrastructure to make it stronger. These buildings survived both quakes, and are being used as temporary shelters for displaced families.

 

chitre school
An Earthquake Resistant Building in Chitre Village that we constructed in 2013. This building undamaged by both the earthquakes.

The most important part of our methodology is our long-term approach. We commit to working with each of our partner communities for up to a decade, and using this time to provide them with the skills and experience to continue the process of growth and achievement themselves.

This has been the deadliest natural disaster in Nepal’s history, and the rebuilding efforts will take years. Amid the destruction, our community partners need us now more than ever.

Building Earthquake Resistant Schools

After the earthquake, life across Nepal ground to a halt. This included schooling for more than a million children across the country that no longer had safe schools to return to. While our engineered schools stood, community members identified thirty schools in our project areas that were no longer safe for students to study in.

Local community members have already approached dZi for support with the reconstruction of at least 31 local schools, and we have committed to doing everything that we can. Constructing schools hand-in-hand with local communities will help begin the long process of recovery, and will keep thousands of children in school.

We have improved upon our already-proven earthquake-resistant building techniques preparing for earthquakes in magnitudes much higher than the current ones. We continue to rely upon our proven methods of working closely with communities to ensure that they are fully invested in the long term maintenance and upkeep once the schools are completed.

dZi’s long relationship with our community partners offers an opportunity to provide direct support to communities that have little chance of receiving aid from any other sources. Our unparalleled track record ensures that your funds will go further and our commitment to transparency guarantees that every penny is tracked and accounted for.

How You Can Help

We need your help to rebuild the damaged schools in our project areas using new earthquake-resistant designs. Our construction estimate is $60,000 per school.

For the weekend of MountainFilm in May alone, we had secured a matching donation for all gifts up to $75,000.

Please visit dzi.org/donate to make a donation, or send a check to PO Box 632, Ridgway CO 81432.

dZi Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible. A receipt for your tax records will be mailed to you.

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