Two years after the earthquake: Reconstruction in Langtang

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2200 meters above sea level in Rasuwa district lies the small village of Thulo Syafru. The village is charming, colorful, with strong community figures, and beautiful scenery. However, its recent history has been rough.

When the devastating Gorkha-earthquake hit two years ago, almost 90 percent of the buildings, including private houses, the monastery and the school, collapsed. Four of the villagers died.

As the earthquake hit very close to the village, there is still a lot of reconstruction and retrofitting to do. This month, an important milestone was achieved when Nepal Rastriya Lower Secondary School became retrofitted and finalized. The Norwegian Embassy is a proud donor to the project “Recovery Programme Nepal”, which GIZ is implementing. H.E. ambassador Kjell Tormod Pettersen from the Embassy had the honor of handing over the school last week.  

As well as being a place for knowledge and learning, the school will serve as a safe spot for the children. The importance of this can hardly be exaggerated. We have heard devastating stories about children and teachers, initially located outside during the earthquake, ran in to buildings to hide under their chairs, because they had not received proper training on this. Lives were lost because of these types of misconceptions. One of the projects goals is to integrate cross cutting issues to the school management, such as preparing the students for another earthquake, focusing on sanitation and especially to include minorities, like girls and Dalit’s.

The earthquake created much engagement from both national and international actors. This led to, amongst other effects, NGOs funding education for youth in the earthquake-affected villages like Thulo Syafru. Since the school in Thulo Syafru was damaged, the solution was to send children to boarding schools in Kathmandu. It is understandable that desperate parents did this, in order to provide for their child’s education. However, this has unfortunately led to a decrease of students in the village. From around 60 children attending the school, they are now only 32. Hopefully, many children will come back to the village now that they have a safe and strong school. This will be vital for the local community.

With school principal Chhessing Lama, a strong and distinct female figure, the hopes are high for the school as well as the future of Thulo Syafru.