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Building a better future for Nepal's children
The building of our Children’s Home was a huge undertaking, but seeing the security and confidence it brings to the children we are helping makes it all the more worthwhile. They can now concentrate on what we regard as the normal trials of growing up – working hard at school, looking ahead to possible jobs and relationships – without having to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Whilst the Home will always be central to our work, continuing to offer a second chance in life to new children, we are also keen to do more to help the wider community through other tasks and schemes.
With the Home now built, in 2013 we decided we were able to take on another construction project, and settled on helping to rebuild a local primary school in Chainpur. This is one of the larger villages a short distance from our Home, and the home village of our house father Babin Lama. It has space for a headteacher and five other teachers and provides the local children with a start in education.
Originally built in 1988 from stone and mud, the years had taken their toll on the school buildings and attention was needed. With some assistance they had already been able to make some improvements, rebuilding a couple of classrooms and adding a health clinic to offer basic care and advice for the villagers.
However, as you can see, the biggest block needed urgent attention. A single storey building of about 76 sq m, it contained five classrooms, but its walls were crumbling and the rusty tin roof leaked whenever it rained – not good news in a country that suffers from heavy monsoon weather every year. Although the school’s management committee were happy to be responsible for the future maintenance of the new building, they had been unable to raise the lump sum needed to fund the actual building work.
So the same architect who did our Home was employed to draw up plans for it to be rebuilt as a more practical space, with a total of seven rooms to include a new office, toilet and washing facilities. Like the other new classrooms, it was to be constructed of modern materials – brick, cement, wood and iron supports topped off with a proper zinc roof. Our aim was for it to be a dual-purpose building – not just providing a safe place for the children to learn, but also a new facility that would be a joy to the whole community and could be used for meetings, literacy classes, health training, etc. The total cost including furniture and internal fittings was £7,100, with work expected to take several months.
As the work had to be completed before the monsoon season arrived, it was essential no time was lost. Having demolished the existing block, work on the replacement soon started and the new building quickly began to take shape. The villagers themselves were also keen to be involved in the project, and readily contributed their labour and a supply of free wood to go along with the other materials we had to buy in.
To ensure the work was done correctly, we hired a site manager to oversee the project at a rate of £5 per day (500 Nepalese rupees), as well as the skills of an electrician and plumber to complete the necessary wiring and drainage works that were involved.
With careful planning and a lot of effort from everyone, fortunately we were able to complete the new block on time and within budget. The children and villagers were thrilled with the end result of all the hard work, and it sets the school up to continuing educating the local children for many years to come.