Ashrang, like any other place situated in the hilly region of Nepal, was gradually developing. The state of education in this place was better than in most villages of Gorkha. But all this progress in now in jeopardy after the earthquake which shocked this region from its foundation.
After one and half months of the massive earthquake that destroyed much of Nepal, four members of Sano Sansar Initiative travelled to Ashrang, Gorkha word no. 1 and 9, a place very close to the epicenter of the first earthquake to see firsthand the damage caused by this unfortunate disaster.
After travelling for four and a half hours, we reached Gorkha Bazar. From there, we took a bus that would take us directly to Thati of Ashrang village. After arriving in our destination, we inquired about the state of the schools, health post and the destroyed houses. We also interviewed some teachers, students, owners of the destroyed houses and several local residents.
The Story of Schools
On our first visit to Sri Chandeswori Prathamik School, we were late although we got to speak with one of the teachers, Mr. Balaram Wagle. According to him, the school was established in 2044 B.S / 1987 AD. You can imagine how important is 25-year-old school for local residents. Over the years, the school had overcome many difficulties but this earthquake might just be the one to force its closure, if we aren’t able to support it.
The school is severely damaged by the earthquake. The three designated rooms for official purpose has been completely destroyed, although the roof of classrooms are still intact however, they will be practically impossible to operate during the monsoon season unless some precautions are adopted.
As promised, we went to Chandeswori School the next day to interact with students. We were greeted by a sweet fourth grader Pramisha Osti as soon as we reached there. We were inspired by the enthusiasm and interest towards studies showed by Bir Bahadur Thapa, a fourth grader who lost his mother and has an alcoholic father. Bir Bahadur wakes up early in the morning, does his household chores, cooks all his meal by himself and comes to school. Similarly, the headmaster of the school introduced us with a physically challenged boy named Padam Aale. Padam has three brothers and three sisters. His mother is very ill. They spent a lot of money to treat his eldest brother who had same kind of problem as Padam’s. His house was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Now, the only wealth they have is a small piece of land.
Most of the children of Chandeswori School are from very poor family and the school was providing education to many other children like Bir Bahadur and Padam, for free. Although the school was already in an economic crisis, earthquake added more crisis.
The school only has 65 students. After the earthquake the whole nation is in a crisis so, the education department has suggested the school administration to merge with some other schools from that area because the government can’t assure the proper reconstruction of the school as the number of students of this school is low.
Nava Jagriti Chandi Higher Secondary School is one of the best schools in the whole western region. In fact, it was ranked as a No. 1 school seven times in the past years among the schools of Western Development Region. Currently it has about 850 students. The earthquake has caused partial damage to the building of this school making the classroom very unsafe to teach in. As a result, the administration has been forced to place about 100 students in the same classroom.
On the other hand, it felt kind of amazing to see the participation of the locals to construct temporary classrooms. The locals from all the wards were called to help and the people from ward no 8 and 9 were even having a competition to see who builds the best one. All this shows that the people of this place know the importance of education and their willingness to contribute in whatever way possible for their childern to have a better future
On the contrary, despite the level of enthusiasm shown by the people, the school still faces bigger problems and that is the lack of money to buy tins to seal the roof of temporary classrooms. And some white boards have also been damaged. Not to mention the salary of staffs for last two months has not been released by the local authority.
We spoke with the principle of Nava Jagriti Chandi H.S. School about the possibility of Sir Chandeswori School merging with them but after speaking with him for few minutes we came to know that Nava Jagriti has serious problems of its own. The school which holds about 850 students only has 14 teachers. And due to the state of classrooms and their own economic condition it will be very difficult to take any more students.
We are some youths operating a non-profitable organization who used their pocket money to fund this exploration so, sadly we are not capable of solving their big financial problems on our own. Even though we were on a tight budget and we had not planned to do anything else other than observe the situation but, we decided to distribute some biscuits to those poor kids of Sri Chandeswori Prathamik School who had no food to eat. There we experienced an amazing feeling of satisfaction and happiness that can only come from sharing what we can to make a little difference in someone else’s life. I wrote this article about all the things that we got to experience from sadness to pure satisfaction and happiness so that everyone who are interested to help us help them will get a chance to experience those same things and be proud to have helped a nation in need.
What they need.
Here are some of the things that both school need at the moment.
|Item||School||Quantity||Price||Total Price (NPR)|
|1||Tin||Nava Jagriti||20 Bundles||15000||3,00,000 (approx)|
|2||School Bags||Chandeswori||65 pieces||500 each||32,500|
|5||Eraser||Chandeswori||195 pieces||5 each||975|
|6||Sharpener||Chandeswori||195 pieces||5 each||975|
|7||Chocolates||Chandeswori||5 packs||300 each||1500 (approx)|
This is just a small effort which can make a huge difference in someone’s life. In this time of national crisis education is slowly being neglected due to the lack of funds but in the long run that can be catastrophic and truly send Nepal 10 years backwards.
An article by: Binesh Amagai