Teach For Nepal: Rebuilding schools and supporting students

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Close up of a young South Asian child holding relief supplies and smiling

Just over a month has passed since an earthquake struck Kathmandu and the surrounding region on April 25, demolishing entire villages and resulting in the loss of more than 8000 lives. Two of the hardest hit areas were the districts of Sindhupalchowk and Lalitpur, where network partner Teach For Nepal places the majority of its Fellows, one of whom was among the earthquake’s casualties.

In the wake of the devastation, Teach For Nepal Fellows were often the first responders in their placement villages, coordinating relief efforts with community leaders and delivering much-needed supplies via Teach For Nepal’s “Reach to Relief” campaign. Now that the urgent need for staples such as rice, oil, soap, and tents has passed, the Teach For Nepal team is directing their efforts toward rebuilding and reopening schools and helping their students process the tragedy.

In Dhanusha, where the earthquake’s effects were less destructive than in other districts, the six schools in which Teach For Nepal works have reopened, and the 21 Fellows placed in the district have returned to teaching. In more devastated areas, Teach For Nepal Fellows and staff are working hard to ensure students can return to school as soon as possible. In collaboration with a group of engineers who have volunteered their time, they are visiting Teach For Nepal’s placement schools and making detailed assessments of the damage and rebuilding requirements for each facility.

According to the Nepalese government, temporary learning centers are slated to open in communities where schools are not yet accessible on May 31, although constructing these temporary schools in some of the most impacted areas has proven challenging. Once the temporary schools have been built, Teach For Nepal will offer a range of support initiatives to students and families, including a meal program and free school uniforms and supplies.

The Teach For Nepal team is taking a holistic approach to supporting students and families as they prepare for classes to resume. Fellows have received psychosocial support training to provide emotional assistance to students as they process the earthquake’s devastating impact and begin to heal from the trauma. In Sindhupalchowk, a group of Fellows held a three-day health camp along with volunteer doctors and nurses, where they administered medical exams to more than 200 women and children and led trauma relief sessions with assistance from the organization Powerful Hands.