Vinod Shakya shares his experience in working on reconstruction of Suri Primary School. Vinod is a freelance tour guide who became a translator and volunteer in different parts of rural Nepal after the devastating earthquake hit the country in the spring of 2015.
The great earthquake measuring 7.6 magnitude that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015 was the most devastating natural catastrophe in my memory. The destruction was overwhelming and there was not a moment to lose. As soon as the dust cleared men, women and children within the eight districts of Nepal had to draw on their own resources to take control of their destinies and those of others. As days passed there were many moments of sadness and despair as well as hope, joy and countless examples of exceptional courage.
Following the disaster, I volunteered my time with Delaware Medical Relief group to help provide medical care in Dolakha District, one of the hardest hit areas of the country. This work brought foreign medical workers and myself to Suri, a small village in Dolakha, 200km northeast of Kathmandu. The village is situated at 2,800m among vast expenses of terraces where potatoes, barley and other vegetables are grown and harvested by the locals. It has a unique population with a mix of different ethnic groups, including Brahmins, Cchetris, Lamas, Tamangs, Newars, Sherpas and Magars. The blessing of these villagers lies in the simplicity of their lives after the horrific earthquake. Every house in Suri was destroyed, leaving 700 villagers under a blanket of sandstone, rocks and slat stone.
We spent one week in Suri running make-shift clinics and making home visits to provide medical care to the villagers who were cut off from the hospitals due to the earthquake and mudslides that followed. We also met many children of Suri and nearby villages whose school, Bhubaneswori Primary School, was completely destroyed. The five teachers from the school were giving classes outside to the 100 students who attended this school, some of them traveling one hour by foot to reach it.
“Rebuild Nepal: Suri Primary School Reconstruction” Project was started by the doctors and myself to raise funds and build an earthquake-proof school for the children of Suri. After many months of fundraising and delays due to the remote location of the village and Nepal’s political and economic instability (riots after the new constitution was passed and Indian blockade) we finally built an earthquake-proof school this spring. The building is a prefab construction that contains three large rooms and is already being used by the students. More needs to be done to complete the school, including laying floors, extending metal roofing for shelter from rain and sun, establishing concrete sidewalk around the perimeter (currently there is a ditch filled with mud) and creating a recreational area. After completion of the physical space, we plan to continue working with the teachers and students to encourage robust primary education, including English language and career development classes.
Please help us complete Suri Primary School by donating here. We thank Musa Masala for their support of this project!