One year after the earthquake: Nepal in need of thousands of schools

9-year-old Srijana Tamangin at the Bal Bikas primary school. The temporary learning spaces behind her were constructed by Finn Church Aid.
9-year-old Srijana Tamangin at the Bal Bikas primary school. The temporary learning spaces behind her were constructed by Finn Church Aid.

This year and next year, Finn Church Aid (FCA) constructs more transitional and semi-permanent learning centres with adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in Nepal, extends its post-earthquake teacher training to new schools, and continues psychosocial support for teachers and children.

Devastating earthquakes hit Nepal on 24 April and 12 May 2015, destroying 770,000 homes, killing thousands and affecting millions. Four thousand schools were destroyed or damaged, keeping 1.2 million children out of classrooms.

After providing emergency relief, Finn Church Aid decided to concentrate its efforts on making it possible for children and youth to continue their studies. Within a couple of months after the earthquake, FCA had constructed temporary learning centres for nearly 20,000 students.

In 2016-2017, FCA builds 600 transitional classrooms in the districts of Makwanpur, Gorkha and Sindul with funding from UNICEF.

In remote areas of the Lalitpur district, FCA builds 40 semi-permanent (lifespan of 15-20 years) classrooms for schools which were not included in the reconstruction scheme of the Ministry of Education. FCA will also repair partially damaged, but structurally safe school buildings and tear down unsafe ones.

With the National Center for Education Development, Finn Church Aid is developing an activity package aiming to strengthen the cooperation between schools, families and communities in tackling post disaster child protection risks in Nepal.  FCA is also cooperating with four secondary schools to develop an emergency school material kit especially aimed at high school-age students.

“FCA is bridging the gap between response and reconstruction to strengthen the overall quality of education, resilience and recovery at school and community level. The collective efforts of the government and NGOs fulfilled only 70 per cent of the need for temporary learning centres. Therefore, FCA continues to build additional transitional and semi-permanent learning centres”, says Finn Church Aid Nepal Country Manager Lila Bashyal.

Finn Church Aid extends its teacher training for post-earthquake recovery to new schools. The training is given in cooperation with Nepalese education authorities and gives teachers and pupils tools to manage their anxiety and identify when peer support is not enough and professional help is needed.

“FCA continues to provide psychosocial support, because even after one year of the massive earthquake, due to continued aftershocks, teachers report that earthquake survivor children are still traumatised with high levels of psychological and academic distress”, Mr Bashyal says.

The situation in the country remains severe, as people are still waiting for government support for rebuilding their homes and starting their livelihoods. Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese, who lost their homes in the earthquakes, are still living in temporary sheet metal shelters, and even in tents.

Further information:
Lila Bashyal, FCA Country Manager for Nepal, email: lila.bashyal(at)kua.fi, Tel. +977 98 511 59 106
Merja Färm, Humanitarian Coordinator, email: merja.farm(at)kua.fi, Tel. +977 98101 35798