As school goes on, life goes on

12-year-old Anjuna has been able to return to school after the devastating April earthquake. She is pleased to know her education will not be delayed. Going to school provides a safe, everyday routine for children, which helps them recover from the catastrophe. When the children are safely at school, their parents have time to work and rebuild their lives. Around 20,000 children are currently studying in temporary learning spaces built by FCA.

  • The favourite subjects of seventh grader Anjuna are mathematics and English, which she speaks very well. Anjuna’s school, the Viswa Niketa secondary school in Tripuerswor in the Kathmandu region is one of the 77 schools Finn Church Aid has built temporary learning spaces in.

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  • The schools in the earthquake regions suffered damages that rendered them inoperable. Not long ago, they looked like this: a school building is being pulled down next to the Svayambunath monkey temple in Kathmandu. The black board was still awaiting removal. FCA built two temporary school buildings in this school.

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  • The model for the temporary school buildings came from the Nepalese government. The model was refined before construction under the supervision of FCA architect Pasi Aaltonen. Because many of the schools are located in remote mountain regions, the only method of transporting building materials was by carriers. The fact that materials had to be carried by hand affected the design.

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  • Learning spaces in Baneshwar are under construction. The frames are made of bamboo. The temporary learning spaces have been designed in a way that reassures the Nepalese, both adults and children, who are afraid of more earthquakes, to stay and study in them.

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  • A temporary learning space is being built on the Padmodaya school grounds. Teaching has already resumed in its classrooms.

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  • Toilets and hand washing basins have also been built at schools when necessary.

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  • Local artists have decorated some of the temporary school buildings.

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  • Landslides make travelling difficult and dangerous. This landslide in Gorkha was, most likely, set off by an aftershock.

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  • “Oh God, please stop Earthquakes.” The message sprayed on a wall in Kathmandu shows the people are tired of the continuing aftershocks.

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  • Students at the Padmodaya secondary school are studying behind walls of bamboo matting. FCA has also supplied the schools with pre-school and teaching materials and sports equipment.

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FCA’s quick and efficient response in Nepal has gained attention. Most of the temporary learning spaces were up just two months after the earthquake. Other organisations working in Nepal have been impressed by the efficiency of the building process and have asked for FCA’s support and guidance in building temporary learning spaces.

For those who experienced the earthquake, psycho-social support is equally important to a safe learning space, and Finn Church Aid has also started providing this kind of support in schools. The work is done in cooperation with a Nepalese organisation specialising in psycho-social support.

Text: Ulla Kärki
Photos: Zara Järvinen, Juha Valta and Finn Church Aid