Rebuilding schools, rebuilding Nepal

To educate a child is to turn walls into doors.

Melina Rai has been teaching at Panchawati School in Udayapur for six years. She is passionate about teaching and loves to spend time with children. "I enjoy being surrounded by children. Teaching them gives me so much joy and satisfaction," she says. "People say school is the second home for students. I feel the same for myself as well. This school is my everything."

On 25 April 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal impacting 39 out of 75 districts, leaving around 9,000 dead and over 22,000 injured.

Panchawati Primary School was also caught in the destruction.

"It was such a challenging time; I don't even want to recall it. It just brings me to tears," says Melina. "The earthquake damaged our school building leaving it uninhabitable and we had to conduct classes under the open sky for several weeks. We had no chairs, no desks and no blackboard. Even our toilet was damaged."

Although the earthquake and constant aftershocks terrified the students and staff of Panchawoti Primary School they did not give up. They built a temporary shelter for some time and now they have reconstructed the damaged school building with support from World Vision's Safe Environment for Learning (SEL) Project. They have truly proven that they are resilient.

"The school building has been reconstructed in an earthquake-resistant manner," says Bijaya Rai, another teacher at the school. "Now, the students as well as teachers feel safe to study in the newly reconstructed building. Had we not received this support from World Vision we could not have been able to continue our studies in a normal, peaceful manner. When we conducted the classes in the open ground it constantly affected us psychologically and physically. Moreover, the hot weather affected us terribly. Children were always sweating and they could not concentrate on the studies. We don't have that problem anymore. Now, their grades are significantly improving."

Ambika, a third grader, says, "After the earthquake my parents did not want me to resume studies because we had no class room. Now, I feel safe in this newly reconstructed building. I like studying here."

Not only has the reconstructed building directly benefitted the school students and teachers but it has also had a positive impact in the local community as the awareness of many community members on earthquake-resistant construction and disaster preparedness has significantly increased.

The school has also been supported with education materials such as books, bags and stationery. Yekraj, a fourth grader, says, "We received various education materials from World Vision and we are using them every day in the class room. We like it very much. Our parents are hardworking farmers and we are not rich. If our school receives such support it will help us students to study better and be successful in life."