Reflections On the School Construction in Raghu
Written by Gene Dionne
Early this year the construction of a new, 4 classroom, secondary school building was started to address one of the most pressing needs of the community in Raghu, education. As most of you are aware of by now, there was an extremely powerful earthquake, with many strong aftershocks, in north central Nepal on April 25, 2015, that killed almost 9,000 Nepalis, destroyed 100’s of villages and weakened or destroyed over 12,000 schools. Namlo’s immediate response was to support a number of in-country rescue and support missions to outlying villages and try to get food, water, and temporary housing solutions to these remote and very impoverished communities. Namlo was fortunate that there was an immediate and generous donor response that helped Namlo immensely in our ability to support the short term needs. This support has also helped us work towards our long term sustainable projects in many of these villages. Consistent with one of our primary mission objectives of ensuring access to quality education, we are addressing a large number of destroyed or badly damaged and unsafe school buildings in many of these outlying communities. Education is a core mission element for Namlo since it is one of the ways we are helping the villages get out of the cycle of poverty. One of the challenges in working in developing countries is the process in which NGO’s must undergo to receive permission to support the country. This can at times create delays but we don’t let this stop us. The communities are invested in their redevelopment and so are we.
I had the privilege of participating on a volunteer trip in October with a group of other dedicated people. Together with the community, we supported the construction of a temporary learning center. Sure, it was hard work, but the team and the community members moved rock by rock, brick by brick to make sure that youngest of those in Raghu would have a safe place to learn. But this solution is only temporary because as you read this, the community is putting on the finishing touches of an earthquake resistant school that will soon become the permanent home for nearly 200 students. We were able to support this work and build community across the globe to support the education of these students. What strikes me in this work is the sense of community ownership. It’s nothing like here in the US. When there is construction, a tall closed off fence is erected, people rarely know what is being built and the roads are often impacted. No, in Raghu, the entire community is part of the rebuilding. The entire community plays a part from the women carrying 50lb loads of cement, to the young men climbing the walls to align support beams. Women will cook lunch for the community workers, and kids will help load the baskets with bricks. To see the community rally behind an endeavor such as the secure facility for children’s learning is moving and is what keeps me involved in this work and with Namlo.
Everyone in the community steps up to support the construction of the new secondary school in Raghu
Come early August, the school will be complete and the doors will open to the curiosity of children, the laughter of the happy hearts and the opportunities that they will have for their futures. We are pleased to have been able to support this work in Raghu, along with the many donors that have chosen to become part of this community through their monetary support. We thank all the donors among you for your contributions to support this critical reconstruction effort in Raghu and look forward to being able to complete the construction of two more in early 2018.
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