26 April 2016
Raju visited Nepal in February - his first visit since the earthquakes. He was able to visit the three schools, meet with the headteachers and assess the situation for himself. He observed that the damage in the area of Kathmandu where the families we support are located was minimal, however, as soon as he left the city the damage become much more obvious and widespread.
The three villages of Pokhari, Upallmudi and Goredhunga have been badly affected. Many houses were damaged in the first quake and then collapsed in the second so most of the villagers are living in temporary structures. Upallmudi and Pokari schools are usable and only suffered minor damage. Goredhunga school has two usable classrooms and is using a temporary structure which has four 'rooms'.
Unfortunately very little rebuilding has taken place in Nepal largely due to problems getting fuel into Nepal from India. Protests at Nepal's southern border for four months through the autumn and early winter blocked the border, causing further hardship and misery for people affected by the earthquake. Queues for petrol snaked for miles down roads and people resorted to using firewood to cook on. The lack of fuel meant prices for just about everything were extremely high and any rebuilding work was out of the question.
By the time of Raju's visit, the border was open but the supply of fuel was slow and even getting a bus from Kathmandu to the villages was difficult and took him a couple of attempts. Clearly it will take a while before everything gets back to normal, the fuel supply regulates and prices return to normal.
Our biggest concern regarding the rebuilding work at Goredhunga is ensuring the work is completed correctly and meets the required earthquake standards. The Headteacher has had no information or guidance from the Government but a National Reconstruction Authority was finally established in December so we are hoping some official guidelines will emerge soon. Raju is liaising with the Headteacher regarding this.
In the meantime we have been investigating alternative construction techniques such as Earth Bag Building and Raju's brother Rajendra attended a week long introduction to the technique at the beginning of April.
Ideally we want to have the project completed before the monsoon begins in June but this is probably optimistic!
1 November 2015
Fundraising has been ongoing and if funds keep coming in then it looks as though we will be able to rebuild the damaged Goredunga School. A proper assessment will be carried out following the winter, probably around February/March. If our current assumptions regarding building costs are correct then work could commence around April/May.
Once again a big thank you to everyone who has donated to Aid for Nepali Children (or any other Nepal earthquake appeal). We cannot emphasise enough how much your help is needed and how much it is appreciated.
10 July 2015
It's now been almost three months since the earthquake shook Nepal. Life is slowly returning to a degree of normality for people in Kathmandu. The children are back at school, buildings are being demolished and rubble cleared. People have cautiously returned to their homes and begun sleeping inside. Most families in our villages, Upallmudi, Pokhari and Goredhunga however are sleeping under tarpaulin or in temporary shelters. In the villages, our schools have reopened. Pokhari and Upallmudi schools are using the buildings we constructed (although unfortunately other buildings they constructed more recently were badly damaged). Sadly, the news from Goredhunga School was not so good. The pictures we finally received showed extensive damage and we are busy fundraising in the hope of being able to construct a new building. In the meantime, the school is using a temporary shelter. The Headteachers are concerned about the psychological impact on the children in the villages. They told us that the younger children in particular are nervous about going inside and choose to be outdoors at every opportunity.
It's worth noting that since the April 25th earthquake, the Nepalese have had to endure 346 aftershocks of magnitude 4 or greater (as of 9th July) and they are expected to continue for months to come. Many of these aftershocks have had their epicentre in the Dolakha region close to our schools.
To make matters worse, the monsoon has arrived in Nepal and already landslides are being reported as ground, loosened by the earthquakes, is washed away by the heavy rains. The villagers are watching the surrounding hillsides anxiously and avoiding any unnecessary travel.
A big thank you to everyone who has donated to Aid for Nepali Children (or any other Nepal earthquake appeal). We cannot emphasise enough how much your help is needed and how much it is appreciated.
18 May 2015
It was with great relief that we made contact with Raju's brother, Rajendra today. He had been in Upallmudi village during Tuesday's earthquake and has just managed to return to Kathmandu. He updated us with the following:
In Upallmudi and Pokhari, people suffered minor injuries in the 7.3 earthquake on Tuesday 12th May. All the houses are damaged to some degree, some are cracked and missing walls whilst others have fallen down completely. Consequently, all families are living outside.There has been a large landslide between Upallmudi and Pokhari making it impossible to get between the two villages. There is no electricity and the phone lines are down. Food stores cannot be accessed as they are in unsafe buildings which no-one dares venture into. A small amount of rice (3kg per household) has been delivered by helicopter but they have not received any tents or tarpaulin. They are still experiencing frequent aftershocks: a 5.7 magnitude shook the area on Saturday and magnitude 4 shocks are regular.
See Gallery here for Upallmudi Earthquake Damage
As far as we are aware, Upallmudi and Pokhari schools have sustained minor damage which hopefully can be repaired. We have seen a photograph of the smaller Upallmudi building but are still waiting for photographs of Pokhari and the larger Upallmudi building. We are also still waiting for an update from Goredhunga and have had no contact with anyone in the village since Tuesday's earthquake but we do know the school building was damaged in the first earthquake.
There have been many landslides in the area making travel by road very dangerous. The road from Kathmandu to Charikot has been cleared but the road from Charikot up to the villages is still blocked, making relief efforts very difficult. Rajendra had to walk much of the way to the road head.
17 May 2015
Worrying times. Six days after the second big earthquake and we still haven't been able to contact anyone in the area
14 May 2015
We have been trying to get through to the villages of Goredhunga or Pokhari since Tuesday's earthquake but have been unable to speak to anyone which is very worrying. We have also not had any further communication with Upallmudi. Reports on the internet show a lot of damage to the nearby town of Charikot where there have also been many deaths. Video footage from mobile phones of landslides in the area is, quite frankly, terrifying to watch and there have been a number of aftershocks. We are praying all the children and families are safe and that their nightmare will end soon.
12 May 2015
UPDATE: We were able to get through to Upallmudi village and learned from Raju's brother that the villagers' homes are very badly damaged. Upallmudi school has also been damaged but is still standing. Some villagers have been injured and helicopter-evacuated to hospitals in Kathmandu. Thankfully there have been no fatalities although we were very sad to learn that there have been deaths in a nearby village, people known to Raju. Everyone is absolutely terrified, particularly of rock falls being triggered by further aftershocks. The situation sounds quite desperate.
Terrible news from Nepal: another major quake today so we have another long wait for news. The epicentre was much closer to the villages than the previous quake on the border of Dolakha and Sindhupalchok. Our villages are roughly halfway between Kathmandu and Namche Bazaar, and were even closer to the epicentre of a major aftershock that followed the 7.3 quake. We hope that not too many people have been injured as most are living in the open and hopefully won't have been in their houses.
4 May 2015
We are getting conflicting information about the state of the three schools. Latest report is that Pokhari school is ok and that the building that collapsed is an old building that is only used for storage.
Goredhunga school appears to have most damage and the headteacher fears that it may have to be demolished. The headteacher will attempt to get a full assessment from the local district officials.
About 80% of village houses have been destroyed. The villagers have seen little or no aid and are living in the open.
30 April 2015
Our project manager Gita has made it back into Kathmandu and I am pleased to say that she and her family are ok and that her house is undamaged. She has already reported that the few sponsored familes that she has managed to contact are ok. Over the next few days she will endevour to check out all the families.
29 April 2015
The following is the latest information we have regarding the three schools:
Two Room building appears to be ok. Four Room building is badly cracked but standing. Gaps in roof where slate has moved.
Four room building is cracked but standing. Two room building has collapsed. Toilet block appears to be ok.
Building is badly cracked but standing. Toilet block appears to be ok.
No-one has gone into any of the buildings yet to assess the internal damage.
No deaths have been reported but some people are missing.
The villagers are living in the open being afraid to use their badly damaged houses. They have no tents but make do the best they can. The schools are unusable. The aftershocks could carry on for several more weeks or even months.
Normal life for these poor people is suspended for the foreseeable future and they will need much support. Unfortunately due to their remote location I doubt that they will be a priority for the rescue services. We are the only charity working in the area and our funds can not match a situation like this.
28 April 2015
We have heard that all the people and children in the villages are OK but unfortunately it would appear that the three schools have been damaged. Currently we have no detailed information as to the extent of the damage but we suspect that it may be severe.
Our project manager is still out of touch and there is no news regarding the families we support.
26 April 2015
The terrible earthquake has seriously disrupted communications. We have been unable to contact our project manager, any of the families or any of the three schools. A friend has told us that he thinks that people in the villages are safe but we have no confirmation and will continue to try to contact our project manager. We will post more news as soon as we get it.
Our project manager, Gita has been flagged as safe on a facebook page, not sure where she is though.
We have read a report that people in our villages are safe but that houses have been damaged.
29 January 2015
A belated merry Christmas and happy New Year to all.
During the next two months we will be undertaking a review of all our activity in Nepal and our representatives will be working hard contacting the families and headteachers we support. Hopefully, all going well you can expect a full update in the Spring.
In particular we will be reviewing our support for the five teachers. Our original agreement with the three headteachers was that we would support the new teachers for two years and during that time the headteachers would look to secure longer term funding. The headteachers however have so far been unsuccessful but fortunately due to your generous support we have been able to continue our support beyond the original two years. At some point our funds will be insufficient so the review will focus on when this may happen and what can be done.
31 May 2014
We are continuing with our regular payments to the families that we support and also to the five teachers. I am pleased to say that all are doing well.
I would like to thank our regular supporters, especially those who have been donating regularly by bank standing orders. Without your help and support we would not be able to help these disadvantaged Nepali children. I can assure you that your help is greatly appreciated by the parents, teachers and children. It is true to say that you have changed the lives and expectations of these children.
2 March 2014
Our Project Manager Raju Tamang is planning to visit the village schools this week.
30 July 2013
I must apologise for not providing regular updates and hope that the following gives you all a good idea of what has been happening over the past year.
All the building work has been satisfactorily completed for the three schools and the headteachers, parents and children are very happy with the new facilities. The toilets have improved hygiene and some famililies have also built toilets at their homes because their children have asked them. Strangely enough the toilets have also improved attendance as the children used to just go into the jungle for their toilet and then often went home instead of returning to school.
With our financial support the schools have their full quota of teachers and have been able to attract teachers of a higher standard. The headteacher at the local senior school has confirmed that the children from our three schools are now arriving with a much better standard of education. He no longer has to put on extra lessons to bring them up to the required standard and this saves him money.
Our original agreement with the headteachers was that we would financially support the teachers for the first two years and then it was expected that the Nepali Government would provide the necessary finances. The Government however are claiming that they do not have the money for the teachers salaries. The future for the teachers is uncertain and the headteachers will be pressing the Government again for funds. Unfortunately it is unlikely that we can sustain our financial support.
Currently we are financially supporting thirteen families which means that twenty-seven children are still in education. Three of which have just finished school and have passed their SLC (school leaving certificate, the equivalent of our GCEs). One child, Mahesh passed his SLC with a distinction (80%+) and will now be going on to 'A' level equivalents. Of the other children five, Hari, Sany Doma, Sony, Nurmaya and Rosan finished top of their classes. We have the funds to continue supporting all these children until they all finish school to SLC level.
21 June 2012
The current project at Pokhari Village School has been completed. This has provided a new two classroom building which is in use for years 7 and 8. The charity has now rebuilt 6 of their 8 classrooms. Their first ever toilet block has also been completed and is in use. Some site tidying needs to be done and this will be completed by the villagers following the monsoon.
26 January 2012
When we visited Pokhari School last March we noticed a young blind boy, Sonam Tamang (that's him on the right in the front row). Thanks to a recent kind donation we were able to fund Sonam and his mother to travel to Kathmandu and have him examined at hospital. He went to Tilganga Hospital which is one of the best eye hospitals in Nepal. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to recover his sight but on the positive side Sonam has now been officially certified as blind. This means that he can now go to a local boarding school for the blind in Charikot for free. Here amongst other things he will be taught to read braille and to walk with a stick.
10 January 2012
The head teacher of Pokhari School has requested extra money as they had to built two temporary classrooms to allow them to immediately increased the number of classes up to year 8. The two class rooms they built are just for one year and are made from bamboo. Fortunately the exchange rate has worked in our favour for once and we were able to grant the additional funds. They have started building the walls of the permanent classrooms and they will be finished by the end of this month. They will start building the toilet this week. Furniture that was made for the school was unfortunately of poor quality and was rejected by Raju. New furniture will be made for his inspection.
21 November 2011
The Head Teacher of Goredhunga school has reported that the new toilet block is now in full use. Most of the children are very happy to use the toilets as it means they don't have to go into the jungle. Some children, however do not understand the toilets and are finding them hard to use. The teachers are having to spend time showing them why they should use them and how to use them.
20 September 2011
In February the head teacher of Pokhari School asked if we could help fund the building of two more classrooms. The issue was that a proposed government ruling meant that the school could not stay at its current size (six classes) but had to either contract to three classes or expand to eight. The head teacher argued, and we agreed, that if the school contracted the children would have too long a walk to the next school (two hours each way).
During the summer we managed to secure funding not only for the two extra classrooms but also for a toilet block. The project will start after the big Nepali holiday of Dashain and Tihar and building work is expected to start before the end of the year.
In September we paid the salaries for the teachers we are supporting to cover the next school year.
During the monsoon, which was very heavy and lasted longer this year, there were many landslides that caused problems for some of the children getting to school.
20 March 2011
Work on the Goredhunga School toilet block is 99% complete. The plaster render needs to dry out and the water supply needs to be connected but other than that the work is finished. The school is about to start end of year exams and then will be closed for school holidays. Nepal school years begin in mid April which is also Nepali New Year. The toilet block will be used for the first time when the new school year begins. Children from Years 4, 5, 6 & 7 will be responsible for monitoring the toilet use and also keeping them clean. The teachers will look after their own toilet.
12 February 2011
Last summer heavy rain and high river levels damaged the Goredhunga village water storage tank. An INGO (International Non Government Organisation) is going to build a new tank next month for the village.
After the new tank is built the new school toilet will be able to get water (the villagers have put a pipe to the school from the village).
The new tank will use new technology so will be better than the old one.
9 February 2011
Work started in January building the walls of the Goredhunga School toilets. Men carried the stone on their backs for one hour to the school. Then they cut the stone with a chisel and hammer to make rectangles to build the walls. There are six men building the toilet. They hope to finish in four weeks.
31 December 2010
***Merry Christmas from Nepal****
Raju visited Upallmudi School and paid the teachers' salaries for the second term of this school year.
He also visited Pokhari School. A number of parents came to see him and he talked about the school with them. The parents are very happy with the new building and the financial help for the teachers' salaries. They are hoping that the charity will continue to help next year. Also, everyone involved with the school would be very grateful if we could build a toilet and bring water to the school (the Charity's trustees will make a decision next year depending on available funds). Clothes were distributed to many children.
Raju went to Goredhunga School and found builders to build the toilets. Raju and the Headteacher are very pleased that the project is underway at last. Photos will follow soon. This school has improved a lot and is now running up to Class 7. Before, it was running up to Class 5. This means that the children don't need to go to other village schools (at least 1 hour walk away), they can stay at Goredhunga. Unfortunately, the school has a problem. They need two more teachers but they don't have money to pay them as the money provided by the Government is insufficient (the charity's trustees will discuss this next year).
20 November 2010
The headteacher at Garimudi (local senior school) has reported to Raju (our project manager) that the children coming from our three schools are now at a much higher educational standard. It is very pleasing to think that the improved facilities and additional teachers are giving these children an acceptable level of education.
The headteacher at Goredunga is very happy with the new school building especially as it stayed dry during the monsoon. The children are also happy and the numbers of children attending the school are increasing.
Work has at last started on the toilet block at Goredunga. The two composting pits had been dug but following a visit this week by Raju it was decided to make them bigger. Building work is scheduled to start at the beginning of December with completion expected by February 2011.
27 April 2010
Supported Families - Two families happily no longer need our financial assistance but three new families are now being supported. This means that 14 families are currently receiving financial assistance to enable their children to stay in school.
Support for teachers - Financial support is being provided to help employ five teachers. They are in Upallmudi, Goredunga and the senior school at Garimudi.
21 January 2010
Goredunga school update - Plastering of the interior walls and a cement floor has now been completed. The new doors and window shutters have been fitted so the only remaining job is for the painter to varnish them. See Projects page for photographs.
The monsoon rains have ended and the rice harvest is almost complete in Goredunga village. The new school building is already in use even though it is not quite finished. Due to the humidity during the monsoon, the carpenters waited to complete the doors and window shutters to ensure the wood has completely dried out. They will be installed in Mid November. Plastering of the interior walls and a cement floor will be completed by mid December. The ground in front of the new building has been cleared and the old building will soon be demolished. Stone from this building will be used to construct a perimeter wall. The children are very proud of their new school building telling us it is one of the best in the area! See Projects page for photographs.
The walls of Goredunga school are completed and the metal roof is in place just in time for the start of the monsoon. No more work will be done until the end of the monsoon, about October.
Report from Raju regarding the progress on Goredunga School:
Stone was collected by local people from a quarry one hours walk down hill from the village, then workers cut the stone into bricks, this took a month. The villagers dug the foundations. Then trees were chopped. Then they made window and door frames. The walls are half built and frames are in place. Building work is expected to be finished in one month.
Travel in Nepal is very hard now. If I want to go to the village it can take me five hours or five days. These days there are a lot of roads closed because there are a lot of protests. In Nepal these are called bandha, people are unhappy they light a fire in the middle of the road. People come to watch and the road closes. Sometimes the road will open in one or two hours. However sometimes if there is an accident the road might be closed six days while the families of injured people demand money. Until their demands are met roads will be closed. When some road are closed the fuel can`t be delivered to Kathmandu. So that time I can`t go to the village. That is it for now.
David Allen was presented with a cheque for £275 by the pupils of Llansannor & Llanharry Church in Wales Primary School (locally known as 'The Mountain School' because of its position on the top of a hill). The money was raised at a Christmas Carol Concert following a talk given by David earlier in December about the charity's work at Upallmudi School in Nepal.
The school, as part of their programme to inform their pupils of life in other parts of the world, is now planning a display with information about, and artifacts from, Nepal. In addition, two teachers are planning to visit Nepal during the summer holidays to undertake some volunteer work.
The pupils can look forward to hearing a first hand account of Nepali school life from their teachers.
Raju (our Project Manager) visited Goredunga at the beginning of February and it seemed to him that the entire village had turned out to welcome him and to participate in the dicussions regarding the new GauriShankar School. Their enthusiasm and commitment to improving the education facilities for their children was very heartening for Raju. "I was very happy and impressed with their attitude, comments and the great welcome I received." The local people had already cleared the proposed school site (free of charge!) before Raju arrived and work has now commenced on digging the foundations. While the foundations are being prepared Stone is being quarried from a location which requires a 45 minute uphill walk back to the village. Wood is also being chopped and collected from a similar location. Local people are being employed to do this work. The local villagers have volunteered to carry the wood back to the village for free.
The construction work for the new school in Pokhari village is more or less complete. The walls have been plastered and the school provided funds to enable the outside walls to also be plastered. Work is continuing on the window shutters and doors and these should be completed very soon. Everyone in the village is very happy with the new school building and are keen to be able to start using it.
Upallmudi school is now completely finished and fully operational (see the final photograph on the Upallmudi project page). A pleasing side effect of having a much improved school building is that it is now being used daily by 12 women after regular school finishes. The ladies are studying Nepali and English, 2 hours a day, 6 days a week from 4pm until 6pm). The Nepalese Government provides funds for an adult education teacher but the ladies had been unable to find a suitable location. They approached the Headteacher at Upallmudi to see if it would be possible to use one of the school classrooms for their studies and he was happy to help. The original Headteacher, Mr Bhirkhar Tamang, is now back at Upallmudi and the temporary Head, Mr Double Bahadur Tamang, has since found work in nearby Charikot. The two teachers we are supporting are doing well and are well liked by the students.
24 January 2009
Nicola Bennett who successfully completed the London Marathon last year is running again this year. She is looking for sponsorship to raise sufficient funds to complete phase 2 of the Goredunga project. A link to a secure payment site will be included on this site in the next few weeks.
10 October 2008
Following an application to the The Waterloo Foundation for funds to help with the demolition of Goredunga's decrepit existing village school and construction of a new building, The Foundation has agreed to provide a donation of £5,000. The Charity has gratefully accepted the donation and added additional funds so that Phase 1 can begin.