|One of the first temporary classrooms nearly finished.|
The last few weeks have been very busy working on the Emergency Education Project in Lamjung. The race is on to get protection from the arriving monsoon rains. Those of you who have read a previous blog will know that we, the Global Action Nepal team, went around 58 schools to assess damage in 8 VDCs (parishes). We identified 11 very needy schools, where the need is greatest, to build 11 Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS). So things have been hectic, a situation that I have really enjoyed.
|The pen game!|
My first task was to help with recruiting and interviewing 5 new Community Mobilisers and 40 Youth Volunteers. 2 very full days of interviews and we nearly had a full compliment. The second challenge was to give training to the new Community Mobilisers brilliantly supported by the experienced team. Good fun was had by all as you can see above.
Then came the Youth Volunteer training and this time new CMs helped facilitate the workshop. The only problem was that the day was not long enough. Nepali people are notoriously relaxed about time keeping, very frustrating for us Bedeshies. It means that it is always difficult to get everything done according to plan. However it doesn't worry me too much as long as they have enjoyed themselves, joined in and learnt lots. We seemed to have achieved that which is brilliant.
|Games in schools are very limited. The concept of silly relay races took a long time to explain. Hilarity followed!|
Then we went out to talk to the headteachers and discuss community involvement and practicalities of the design of the building. They will manage the building but the design should follow the agreed plans.
|A tiny school which is unsafe to use.|
|Under a simple tarpaulin roof this classroom will not withstand the coming rains.|
|At the same school these tots are marking the spot!|
|Another day, another VDC. As we called in to Alaiche Primary School this teacher is getting stuck into building the frame.|
We walk on to the next school but on our way back the frame is nearly constructed. 2 days later it is ready for the roof.
|Alaiche Primary School. A big problem will be building the floor up to keep the rain out.|
Who would have thought that I would be involved working out what size and how many corrugated sheets we would need at each school. My calculation of tonnage of soil to build up the floor were not far from my professional cousin's recommendations. There is very little use of gutters and water collection in Nepal so that is another idea which seems to be taking hold. They could use this to flush toilets and urinals, where the smell of urine is almost unbearable and it could also be used to improve hygiene and hand washing. What a lucky turn of fate that I have watched so many farm buildings being constructed. Thank you Arthur! Also so good to have a good man to discuss the ideas with but a shame he is in Kathmandu!
|This was the first TLS near completion. A great day and a very jolly team of lads.|
Another day and another school visit. I set out on my own again, another challenge, but within a few hundred meters of getting off the bus, heard this lovely young lady calling my name. One of our Youth Volunteers had been to college and was on her way home (one and a half hours walk). It was only 9 am so you can imagine what time they start at college.
|A companion for about 2km. She said that she would phone other volunteers to meet me late.|
I was delighted to reach this school and see the near finished TLS. My particular favourite (I know that I shouldn't have one but....) where I had visited with the S team. You have seen many photos of the devastating condition of this school. They have done a wonderful job despite lack of community volunteers, the same story of rice planting but also a very poor catchment area with few willing helpers.
|The back of the TLS|
|We soon tidied the site. It was beautifully cool and airy inside. Hopefully the rains will not drive in.|
|2 hours to spare and half of the hut varnished. Very hot work and I ended up with nearly as much on me!|
Another big part of the project is to provide teacher training, psycho-social support and the use of games and practical activities to improve teaching and learning methods. My role is to help the Community Mobilisers and the Youth Volunteers (5 in each VDC) to start clubs (art, sport, drama, music etc), hold community dialogues and generally get children back to a school where they can feel safe and have a good learning experience. So I was very pleased when 3 Youth Volunteers appeared. They collected the data, that every donating charity needs, and then we played some games. These were equally enjoyed by the teachers and by the lovely gent in black, a lawyer from Kathmandu, home since the earthquake, who I believe has personally driven this building project to near completion. Good fun and surprisingly competitive!
|The Namaste game. Counting around the circle, in English. Every fifth person says and does "Namaste" in place of the "5's". Easier said than done. I was soon out but at least that allowed a bit of photography!|
|Relay races using a rather heavy piece of bamboo! H & S close your eyes!!|
My VSO colleague, Ann Marcer, has been busy organising the distribution of the wonderful resources from Unicef. Many of you have heard of "School in a Box" but there is also a recreational kit and fun toys, puzzles and books for the under 5's. An amazing addition for these under-resourced schools. More things than they have ever had. Part of our task is to encourage the best use these goodies so that the maximum benefit for the students is enjoyed.
|Unicef "School in and Box" and recreational Kits|
|More than most schools have ever seen!|
|Loaded up and on it's way to Chiti and Hiletaksar. Ann and I delighted to see the distribution of resources.|
So back to the UK tonight and hoping that all the boxes get safely out to the schools and that the Temporary Learning Spaces are finished on my return in a month's time. Good luck to the wonderful GAN team. What a first year.