Thursday, June 23, 2016

Construction of Libraries in 4 VDCs in Ilaka 12, Sindhupalchok district commences

The construction of libraries in Gunsa, Baruwa, Bhotang and Bhotenamlang VDCs in Sindhupalchok district is currently underway. The libraries are being built through the Establishing Accountability and Transparency Mechanism in School Governance Project funded by Give 2 Asia.  The libraries will be built in the following five schools in each VDC:

1. Chandika Secondary School, Baruwa VDC
2. Kumbeshwory Primary School, Gunsa VDC
3. Bhotang Devi Secondary School, Bhotang VDC
4. Kshetrapaleshwory Higher Secondary School, Bhotenamlang VDC
5. Thangpaldhap Higher Secondary School, Thangpaldhap VDC

Construction of library in Kumbeshwory School, Gunsa 


Construction of library in Chandika School, Baruwa
All the above four schools suffered major destruction during the earthquake and require new libraries. In the future, the libraries will not only serve as a reading room for the children but the monthly Village Education Committee (VEC) Meetings will also take place in them. The truss and civil work is currently going on in Kshetrapaleshwory School, Bhotenamlang and Bhotang Devi School, Bhotang.

Assessment for construction of library in Kshetrapaleshwory School, Bhotenamlang VDC

Civil work for construction of library in Bhotang Devi School, Bhotang VDC
Civil work underway for construction of library in Bhotang

On the other hand, in Chandika School, Baruwa and Kumbeshwory School, Gunsa the truss and civil work has already been completed. The iron frames for the structure and the tin roofs are now being set up in these two schools as can be seen from the images below. Construction is yet to begin for the library in Thangpaldhap Higher Secondary School in Thangpaldhap VDC. We have set a target to complete the construction of these 5 libraries by the end of July as long as the monsoon does not delay our process.
Iron frames being set up in Chandika School, Baruwa VDC

Tin roofs being added to the structure in Baruwa

Construction of library underway in Kumbeshwory School, Gunsa VDC

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Post Earthquake: What We Have Done and Accomplished So Far

Last week, a team from COMMITTED attended the Education Cluster meeting the District Headquarter, Chautara. The meeting was held at the District Education Office. All NGO's and INGO's involved in post-earthquake reconstruction in the district of Sindhupalchok were represented.

The purpose was to present -- to the district officials -- details of post-earthquake education-related work NGO's and INGO's were conducting in the district.

Reproduced below are some of the important details presented at the three-hour gathering. Click on any image for the original and a slide show.

(NPR and US$ exchange rate is approximately NPR 100.00 = US$1.00. So, just drop the last two digits and you'll get an approximate value in US dollars.)

For a glimpse into a Temporary Learning Center (TLC), click here. The blog post contains an embedded video of Raithane School TLC.

For more on the Star Reader and Writer program, click here. For some photos of the winter jacket distribution, click here. For more on the work that was carried out on the fishery, click here.

(You can read up on the reconstruction of Taltuleshwori  herehere, here and here. For a video of the almost complete school, click here; it's embedded in the blog post. For some photos, click here.

For some photos of the reconstruction of Chilaune School click here and here. For a video, click here; it's embedded in the blog post.)

Be sure to let us know what you think about our work etc. by commenting below!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Establishing a Better and Improved Public School System in Nepal

Establishing a Better and Improved Public School System in Nepal by ensuring Accountability and Transparency.

Chandika School, Baruwa VDC where we plan to build a library

With the support of funds from Give 2 Asia, we have initiated a new project that aims to ensure accountability and transparency within the public school system in Sindhupalchok district. The project site is located in Ilaka 12 of the district and has six local bodies – VDCs; namely, Baruwa, Gunsakot, Thangpalkot, Thangpaldhap, Bhotenamlang, and Bhotang. The monitoring of public education system is not practiced best in Nepal. COMMITTED identifies that the school system has failed  to capitalize on the available Village Education (VEC) structure as well as local civil vigilance groups - Parent Teacher Associations (PTA); Ward Citizen Forums (WCF).

Assesment of Bhotang Devi School, Bhotang VDC for construction of Library

Through this project firstly the VEC will be strengthened for all education needs, including the formulation of a Village Education Plan including resource generation. Second, a citizen driven vigilance system will be created through which students, citizen groups, and government resources are mobilized to ensure all actors in this sector are transparent, accountable and diligent in their duties. This will be complemented with raising awareness and processes regarding the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Third, the capacity of the School Management Committee (SMC) will be developed for improved planning, reporting, and operations. In addition, five school libraries will also be rebuilt using earthquake safe material as a part of the rebuilding effort in the post earthquake stage. Rebuilding libraries at these schools will assist the underprivileged children to return to formal school environment. Having a new permanent library will enable these vulnerable children from getting back to reading and enjoying school.

Assesment of Thangpaldhap School, ThangpaldhapVDC 

We believe that efforts to bring in qualified teachers and improve on infrastructure, facilities and resource generation are all necessary for an effective education system. However, without governance system to not only monitor activities and check for malpractice, but also create a plan for moving forward, all such efforts could only prove to be futile. This program will resurrect and strengthen the governance structure as well as create a system through which all stakeholders’ roles are clearly defined, their capacities built and as a result, in unison, an education governance mechanism will be built to benefit all households for current and future generations.

Assesment of Chhetrapaleshwory School, Bhotenamlang VDC 

Our team comprising of the Senior Program Coordinator, Program Coordinator and Technical Engineer visited the six VDCs last week. They assessed the six different schools in the six VDCs which have been selected for the construction of libraries. The libraries will also serve the purpose of conducting VEC activities as when required and appropriate. Simultaneously, the team is currently rigorously involved in planning and management of the activities that will be undertaken within this project. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The two Champion Sisters Lambuti and Khendo Lama

Fourteen year old Khendo Lama and fifteen year old Lambuti Lama are two very talented athletes who come from Bhotang VDC, Sindhupalchok. The two come from a family of 4 sisters and a brother. Both of them currently study in class nine in Shree Chilaune Secondary School, Thangpalkot VDC. These two talented sisters have been winning a number of accolades in athletics since the last three years. Following is a brief outline of their achievements:

Miss Khendo Lama
·         Awarded the Gold medal in the 1500m Marathon in the President’s Cup organized by Sindhupalchok District, 2070 B.S.
·         Awarded the Gold medal in the 1500m & 5000m Marathon in the President’s Cup organized by Sindhupalchok District, 2071 B.S.
·         Awarded the Gold medal in the 1500m Marathon in the President’s Cup organized by Sindhupalchok District, 2072 B.S.
·         Awarded the Silver medal in the Helambu Festival Marathon, Sindhupalchok District, 2071 B.S

The two Champions after winning the 3rd and 4th title in the Women's Day 5K Run
The two sisters with the other two winners in the 5K Fun Run
Khendo and Lambuti at the Helambu Festival Marathon with the legendary Nepali Marathon Runner Baikuntha Manandhar

Miss Lambuti Lama
·         Awarded the Gold medal in the 800m Marathon in the President’s Cup organized by Sindhupalchok District, 2071 B.S.
·         Awarded the Gold medal in the 800m Marathon in the President’s Cup organized by Sindhupalchok District, 2072 B.S.
·         Awarded the Bronze medal in the Helambu Festival Marathon, Sindhupalchok District, 2071 B.S.
The two sisters with other participants and their teacher Mr. Babu Lal Tamang
Khendo and Lambuti on their way to complete the 5K Run

The two Champions with the support of their school teacher Mr. Babu Lal Tamang try their best to participate in more such events as much as possible. They also participated in the Nagarkot Tourism Development Marathon held this year. Also, Lambuti and Khendo participated in the recent 5 Kilometer Fun Run organized by Women Lead, Higher Ground and a number of other organizations on the occasion of International Women’s day, 2016. 

Khendo and Lambuti stood 3rd and 4th respectively in this 5K Run among a total of 500 participants which included women from all ages and even expats. The two girls received attractive prizes along with their certificates. We are very proud of these two girls and truly admire them for their enthusiasm and spirit. We wish them the very best for their future endeavors.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dreams do come true – The Story of Prakriti Shrestha

Prakriti in her ANM program
19 year old Prakriti Shrestha comes from a family with a weak financial background from the village of Gunsakot, Sindhupalchok district in Nepal. When in school, Prakriti was a very hard working student and she cleared her SLC (School Leaving Certificate) examinations from Raithane Secondary School, Thangpalkot with first division grades. Initially, because of her family’s financial hardships, her father and stepmother sadly wanted to marry her off. However through the fund raiser made possible by COMMITTED, Prakriti got a chance to pursue further education. In June 2013 when COMMITTED’s Education Program Director Dorje Gurung visited Thangpalkot and interacted with school students and shot a video for his ‘Education is Freedom’ fundraising campaign, she had expressed her dream of studying to be a nurse one day.

Prakriti pursuing her nursing studies
Through the fundraising campaign we were able to raise Rs. 45,700 required at the start of the Associate/Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) program which Prakriti wanted to pursue. The rest of her educational expenses were covered by contributions from two other non-governmental organizations. We feel happy to share that she has now successfully completed the 18 month long ANM course and is now awaiting her final examination results. She is now engaged in her nurse practices and is waiting for her results to plan about her further career. Given her personal and familial struggles, Prakriti has really come a long way to fulfill her dreams, despite the struggles that she constantly faced. She is truly an inspiration to young girls out there and we will support her in what she plans to do in her career next.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How the Earthquake severely affected Raithane Secondary School

The powerful 7.8 Richter scale earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th, 2015 and its recurrent aftershocks severely damaged Shree Raithane Secondary School in Thangpalkot VDC, Sindhupalchok district. Of the 18 total school rooms of Raithane School, 11 have been completely destroyed. The remaining 7 are also partially damaged. After the devastation met by schools because of the earthquake, the District Education Office Sindhupalchok assigned COMMITTED as one of its partners to help rebuild schools in Thangpalkot VDC.

The earthquake ravaged Shree Raithane School
The classrooms that were reduced to rubble
Debris clearance 
Due to the earthquake, classes were disrupted for over a month. Working together with the Nepal Army, the School Management Committee, school teachers, and local residents COMMITTED established Temporary Learning Centers (TLC) on school grounds. Classes have been running in the TLCs since May 31. The school had been torn down to rubble and needs to be built from scratch. With the support of the funds given by Western Union we have completed the debris clearance and land stabilization activities which is crucial before rebuilding the school.  

The collapsed weak structures were dismantled, the debris was cleared up by employing workers and the scattered stones of the rubble were used to make gabion boxes.  These gabion boxes have been used to level up the slopes near where the school stood. Since the land was slanting a little, these boxes have helped in stabilizing the land before construction of a new structure takes place there.

Workers making the Gabion Boxes 
Land stabilization
Sadly, we still have not been able to raise enough funds yet to rebuild the school and are looking for contributions. Please support us and help us rebuild Raithane Secondary School by pouring in contributions by going to this link

The TLC of Raithane Secondary School

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Story of Navaraj Basnet

Navaraj receiving the prize on winning the Quiz Competition
Navaraj Basnet who hails from Thangpalkot VDC studies in Class Nine in Shree Raithane Secondary School. He is an exceptionally talented kid. Last year he topped his class by scoring the highest marks in all the subjects in all the exams. His academic performance in class has been consistent and he has been topping his class consecutively for 3-4 years now. All of his teachers in school say that he is a very bright kid who picks up the lessons that he learns in class very quickly and raises interesting questions. His friends further say that not only is he a smart kid but that he is also very friendly and helpful. Apart from being very active in his class, Navaraj eagerly participates in extra-curricular activities as well. He performed extremely well in the quiz competition that had been recently organized in his school and was awarded with the title of ‘Best Performer’. Earlier when COMMITTED had organized the Star Reader Program, he had been awarded with the title of ‘Star Reader’ for having read the most number of books from the library as well.

Navaraj being awarded the prize for being the 'Star Reader'
Navaraj comes from a family with a weak financial background. His father is a farmer by profession who struggles really hard to sustain their family which comprises of Navaraj, his mother and his elder sister. His father also does odd part time jobs like carrying load and people’s luggage in order to be able to fulfill his family’s financial expenses. During the earthquake, their house similar to the majority of houses in Thangpalkot VDC, Sindupalchok was severely damaged. Navaraj and his family now live in the temporary house that they have built. COMMITTED has been supporting Navaraj by providing him with a academic scholarship since the last three years. Through the scholarship, Navaraj’s school tuition fees are entirely covered for the whole academic year. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ongoing Construction of Taltuleshwory School

The construction of three new blocks at Shree Taltuleshwory Primary School in Thangpalkot VDC, Sindhupalchok district is almost complete. Here are some recent pictures from the project site. The three new blocks will constitute six class-rooms for the primary school. Some plastering work remains to be done. Also the interior walls and the exterior walls of the blocks need to be painted. After the completion of the three blocks we are planning to commence with the second phase of the construction.
The newly constructed blocks of Taltuleshwory School
In the second phase of the construction, considering the funds that will be raised, we are planning to build the following components:

  1. Toilets and Drinking Water Taps
  2. Kitchen and Dining Hall
  3. Playground for the children including a Basketball Court.
The two new blocks of Taltuleshwory School
With the addition of more funds, we also plan to improve the library at the school and the reading room for the children.

Our Project Coordinator monitoring the progress of the construction

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reconstruction of Taltuleshwory School - Rekindling the spirit of the children

Shree Taltuleshwory Primary School was established in 2052 B.S in Thangpalkot VDC, Ilaka 12, Ward no. 3 of Sindupalchok district. We have been supporting this school through our School Improvement Plan since 2011 A.D. The powerful earthquake that hit Nepal on the 25th of April and the recurrent aftershocks severely damaged the school.  Since it was a Saturday, thankfully there were no children and teachers in the school. Due to the earthquake, classes were disrupted for over a month.
The damaged structure of Taltuleshwory School

For the 176 students of Shree Taltuleshwory School, life was never the same again after the earthquake. Most of them lost their homes due to the devastation and are now living in temporary houses made up of wooden frames and CGI sheets. In Thangpalkot Village Development Committee (VDC) the death count was 45 which included 11 students and 2 teachers. Some of these students were from Taltuleshwory School.

The severely damaged structure of  Shree Taltuleshwory School

The Children of Taltuleshwory School
Since the school structures including the class-rooms and other critical facilities were destroyed, the children and the teachers were hesitant to return to classrooms. Hence creating a conducive environment for the children to return to the classrooms was very critical. Temporary Learning Centres (TLCs) were constructed for the schools where classes are being run since 31st May, 2015.  The construction of a new and permanent structure for the school is now underway and is going to be complete by March.   We are hoping that this effort will rekindle the spirits of the little children and give them a sense of security. It has been really long since these students have been attending classes in the TLCs and a newly constructed earthquake proof school structure would mean a lot to them. With the generation of additional funds we are also going to add a dining room and a playground for the children.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Reinstating the Fishery as a Social Business for Education and Community Development project in Raithane

We are currently engaged in the reinstatement of our Fishery as a Social Business for Education and Community Development project at Thangpalkot V.D.C, Sindupalchok District. The earthquake in Nepal on 25th April, 2015 disrupted the fishery project which was carrying on successfully at the two nursery ponds in Raithane, Thangpalkot. The boundary walls of the ponds were completely damaged by the earthquake causing the water from the ponds to seep away. Apart from the walls, the earthquake also caused a severe damage to the monks and shutters. With the assistance of funds from the German Embassy we will be repairing the monk and shutter and the walls of the nursery ponds.

The two nursery ponds at Raithane
The monks and shutter installed in both ponds are interconnected to one another by a pipe to manage water, and for harvesting requirements. In order to restore the project, fish feed will also be supplied and cage nets provided. The boat of the pond that is in a bad condition will also be repaired and repainted. Income generated from the fish ponds will be utilized to pay for the deficient operational costs of Shree Raithane Secondary School. Since the earthquake completely disrupted this fishery project, we believe this initiative will help to reinstate it. Moreover, like before the project will not only aid financially constrained households to take up fishery as an income generating activity and thus assist in poverty alleviation but also assist in improving literacy at the school.  
 The monk and shutter of the nursery pond being repaired

The boat being repaired

Thursday, January 28, 2016

How We Are Rebuilding Earthquake Ravaged Taltuleshwory Primary School

The powerful 7.8 Richter Scale earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25th, 2015 and its recurrent aftershocks severely damaged Shree Taltuleshwory Primary School of Thangpalkot VDC, Sindupalchok District. Classes were disrupted for over a month affecting the 176 students of the school. With COMMITTED’s help the school is currently running as Temporary Learning Centers (TLC).

 The floor being laid
Moving forward, after the consolidation of the requisite funds, the construction of Shree Taltuleshwory School has been initiated and we are making steady progress. The permit process with the Department of Education, the District Education Office Sindupalchok, and the Social Welfare Council were also acquired before construction commencement. The new structure being built is earthquake resistant. The school buildings will be single storied with framed steel structures. This is because our assessment of many earthquake affected schools indicate steel framed structures to have handled the recent earthquake better, with minimal damage. 

The Site Plan of Taltuleshwory School
Also, pre fabricated material and light weight cement sandwich wall panels are being used which have proved to be earthquake resistant, upto a magnitude of 8.5. Not only is the structure designed to be earthquake proof but the use of  the wall panel material (EPS polystyrene grain) makes it sound proof and its calcium-silicon fire resistant quality makes it fire and water proof as well. The schools which were destroyed during the earthquake in Nepal were weak structurally and we see this as an opportunity to build stronger and better schools, to educate the students of Thangpalkot village.  
The pillars that have been set up
Construction in progress
The front elevation of Taltuleshwory Schol