The purpose of this report is to present the Final Progress Report on the Shree Bagdevi Higher Secondary SchoolRebuilding Project, funded by Nepalese Association of Houston, Texas, USA (NAH). The report covers from the period from July 2015 to August 2017.
Background: Nepal earthquake of 7.8 magnitude, that struck on 2015 April 25 with Gorkha as its epicenter, killed almost 9,000 people, injured many thousands more, and damaged more than 600,000 structures in Kathmandu and other nearby towns. Two large aftershocks, with magnitudes 6.6 and 6.7, shook the region within one hour of the main quake, and several dozen smaller aftershocks occurred in the region during the succeeding days. On 2015 May 12 an aftershock of 7.3 magnitude that struck some 76 km (47 miles) east-northeast of Kathmandu, claimed more than 100 people dead and nearly 1,900 were injured.
The Nepalese Association of Houston has signed a MoU with Rotary Club of Yala to provide an assistance of US$ 100,000 for rebuilding three damaged schools in three earthquake affected districts e.g. Kavre District, Sindhupalchok District and Lalitpur District. Following this MoU, an agreement was signed on 15 July 2015 to provide US$ 30,000 to help rebuilding the damaged school building of Shree Bagdevi Higher Secondary School in Jyamdi VDC of Kavri District.
Shree Bagdevi Higher Secondary School
Shree Bagdevi Higher Secondary School is situated at the highest point of Mandan Deupur Municipality – 12 (earlier known as Jyamdi VDC Ward No. 1) of Kavre District of Nepal. This school was established in B.S. 2030 under the active leadership of Prabhu Lal Parajuli. In its initial days, the school had to face extreme difficulty in collecting students as well as finding teachers, while the classes were run on stone platforms placed under Banyan trees. The ongoing growth in educational development in the country also helped in the development of this school. In those days, although this was the only school for students in the whole Jyamdi VDC, there were very few students since they faced a lot of hardships while commuting to school due to extremely difficult terrain.
With the growth in educational development as time passed by, many primary schools were established and today there are 10 schools in the Jyamdi VDC: 2 secondary schools, 6 primary schools and 2 boarding schools. The school, that started imparting education at stone platforms, constructed its first stone-soil mix building with overwhelming participation of the local people. With this, students got opportunity to study in roofed-classrooms and the school saw gradual increase in number of students. As more and more villagers became aware of educational development, they wanted to upgrade the school to secondary level. For this purpose they campaigned for door-to-door fund collection in the village and achieved successfully in 2048. The first batch of SLC students appeared in 2051. Since then more than 1100 students have passed SLC and 250+ students have gone for higher studies after completing 10+2. Due to good educational standard of the school, a number of students are still walking for an hour and more to come to school every day, skipping nearby schools in their vicinity.
Nepalese Association of Houston
Nepalese Association of Houston (NAH), recognized as a non-profit organization by the State of Texas – USA, is serving the Houston Nepali Community since 1997. The main purpose of NAH is to serve the Nepalese community in the Greater Houston Area. NAH also strives at preserving and fostering the rich Nepalese culture, traditions, and historical heritage.
Since its inception, NAH has been providing needed services and support to the community in various ways. Some of its outstanding activities include: organizing sports competitions, celebration of cultural events (Dashain, New Year), providing a platform for discussion and sharing of information, screening of Nepali movies, and disseminating information on various useful resources and events.
With the outstanding fund raising effort of NAH to support the 2015 earthquake rebuilding process in Nepal, NAH has been recognized as one of the notable non-profit organizations not only in Nepal but also beyond the Nepalese communities in the USA.
NAH has built partnership with Rotary Club of Yala – RID 3292 Nepal & Bhutan, to support “Schools Rebuilding Projects”. Under this partnerships framework arrangement between NAH and Rotary Club of Yala, following schools destroyed by 2015 earthquake were selected for school building support:
a) Shree Bagdevi Higher Secondary School Rebuilding Project, Jyamdi VDC, Kavre District [US$ 30,000]
b) Kshamawati Higher Secondary School Rebuilding Project, Suspa VDC, Dolkha District [US$ 50,000]
c) Shree Balkumari Higher Secondary School Rebuilding, Sunaguthi VDC, Lalitpur District [US$ 20,000]
Progress on Shree Bagdevi Secondary School Rebuilding
Nepalese Association Houston (NAH) has provided US$ 30,000 for school building of Shree Bagdevi Secondary School in three installments: 1ST installment of US$ 12,000 (Rs. 1,277,733) on 7 January 2016, 2ND installment of US$ 9,000 (Rs. 958,615) on 18 May 2016 and the 3RD and last installment of US$ 9,000 (Rs. 975,677) on 18 November 2016.
The ground floor of school building covers approx. 3,200 sq. ft. foundation area and the roof slab is approximately 4,000 sq. ft. area. The total cost was re-estimated at Rs. 8,500,000 (Rupees Eighty-Five Lakhs) to meet the required structural design as permitted and approved by the Nepal Government’s Ministry of Education. The huge difference in estimated cost and the present cost is due to steep price rise in construction materials and labor cost, heavy (unnecessary) structural design of two-floors building that can take the load of five-story buildings.
Of the total amount needed to construct the ground floor of the school building, NAH provided Rs. 3,212,025 (US$ 30,000), the Department of Education District Office – Nepal Government provided Rs. 2,400,000, the School Committee & Village Community provided Rs. 700,000, School Reserve Fund Rs. 1,500,000, and Rotary Club of Yala Rs. 250,000. Total amount us Rs. 8,062,025.
On 25TH October 2016, Mr. Madhukar Amatya President of Nepalese Association of Houston visited school to assess the progress in rebuilding works. Mr. Amatya was joined by Rtn. Kiran Shrestha, Rtn. Prem Singh, Rtn. Surendra Gopal Shrestha and Rtn. Pramod Pradhan. Following this visit. The roof slabs of ground floor was completed and the additional works were needed for finishing works on windows, doors, floors and walls, so that the student classes could be shifted to this building from temporary structures at the earliest dates.
The urgency in shifting student classes from temporary structures was mainly due to winter season coming soon, although the new building needed some finishing works. The school needs additional Rs. 500,000 (US$ 5,000) for finishing works related to wall painting. electrical works, and flooring works.
During the year 2018-2020, the school has plan to construct 1ST floor at the estimated cost of Rs. 5,450,000 (US$ 54,500). For this the Department of Education of Nepal Government will contribute Rs. 2,400,000 and the school is seeking additional Rs. 2,400,000 from donors and Rs. 650,000 from local community and Rotary Club of Yala. The school administration has earnestly requested for additional funding for this purpose from Nepalese Association of Houston and, to this, Mr. Madhukar Amatya has kindly given his assurance to look into this request at NAH.
During this project work, besides the construction of ground floor of school building, a number of other educational, health, water and sanitation activities have been carried out.
The Anns Group of Rotary Club of Yala distributed educational materials, foods and warm clothes for school children.
The Rotary Club of Yala has provided Rs. 215,000 for renovating drinking water system in the school that has benefited the school as well as nearby community. The water facility will help women, more importantly girl-students who spend a lot of time in fetching water from distant sources and will now have ample time for their studies.
Rotarians of RC Yala and Mr. Madhukar Amatya planted Avocado seedlings in the school premise. The students and teachers have been taking good care of these fruit plants. This initiative will benefit the school and community in coming years as they plan to propagate this cash crop, which is new to them and can fetch good market value.
The village community has been extremely helpful in rebuilding the school building as well as debris clearing activities. They have volunteered their labor as well as collected fund through door-to-door campaign even from their badly earthquake-affected rural people.
In spite of the earthquake devastation, the school has performed very well in School Leaving Certificate – SLC and Plus 2 exams, and hence the school has attracted more students from neighboring communities, although the students have to commute 1 to 2.5 hours to the school.