School buildings that had been built in Nepal during the late 1980s may have been stellar at the time of their construction but were now in desperate need of repair. Most were built from flat stones stacked in piles, coated with a slurry of mud and straw then topped with smooth clay.
Over time, these buildings sagged and cracked, receiving only periodic coats of new plaster and paint as their only form of renovation. WWEP was able to renovate two of these old buildings before the great earthquakes of 2015 leveled most all of the rock-stacked buildings in Central Nepal.
At that point, WWEP moved forward with funding for temporary school structures made from bamboo and tin panels that better resisted quakes. With the coming monsoon due in less than two months, shelter from the pouring rain was the immediate concern. The bitter winter of the Himalayas was still eight months away and further improvements could be made to the bamboo structures at a future date.
WWEP took on the task of rebuilding the primary school in Mendo near the TIbtan border. Within one year's time, it re-opened with great celebration from the villagers
Built from piles of flat stones covered in straw and mud then topped with smooth plaster, most Nepali schools began looking new and fresh. Over 25 years of neglect and minimal upkeep, many of these schools were in desperate need to fixing up.
The Shree Balkalyan Primary School was our first renovation project. We funded the work to strip away old layers of wall coating and replace them with new materials. Photo: Basu Adikhari
Within only a few weeks, the old primary school was made significantly more sound and secure for everyday use by the children. The brighter walls increased the light levels inside the unlit rooms and interior walls were repainted with standard lesson plans. Photo: Basu Adikhari
With one success under our belt, WWEP investigated other schools that could also use an overall facelift and upgrade in doors and windows. Mother Nature had other plans, however.
On 25 April 2015, a devastating earthquake shook the entire country, destroying thousands of un-reinforced structures including homes, businesses and schools. Photo: Basu Adikhari
With the summer monsoon rains due to arrive in less than two months, WWEP immediately funded the construction of temporary school structures to keep the children out of the torrential rain.
On the northern side of Nepal, WWEP had just completed a smaller renovation project on a remote primary school located high on a hillside.
Although built from better materials than other schools, this village's closer proximity to the epicenter of the 2015 earthquakes rendered more damage here than at other schools. WWEP immediately funded a project for the reconstruction of the primary school from the ground up. Local residents of the village and neighboring areas helped by volunteering the labor, while WWEP paid the costs of the materials to be sent up north from Kathmandu. Photo: Urken Tamang
Despite the drenching monsoon season and the bitter cold winter, the new school was completed in less than one year and under budget. Executive Director Steve Mannshardt was able to visit the village for the grand opening ceremony, attended by all of the students and their families. Photo: Mingmar Gombo