During our recent field trip to Nepal, we were thrilled to be able to meet five representatives from remote Bakhang village who came down to Kathmandu to discuss the rebuilding of the village’s primary school that had been destroyed in the 2015 earthquakes.
We will be working through Build Up Nepal, a Swedish-led NGO based in Kathmandu that specialises in reconstruction though involving and training the local community. So it was great that we met at their offices in Kathmandu where we could all learn more about their innovative and affordable methods and be shown a manual compression machine (see photo above).
The new school will be constructed using compressed earth bricks; these use a mixture of soil, sand and cement and are formed into bricks through manual compression. The bricks are interlocking, a bit like Lego, and strengthened every 1.5m with iron bars. This technique is proven to be highly earthquake resistant and has been used for decades in India, Pakistan and Iran.
Build Up Nepal will be working on-site with villagers and keeping them fully involved in the rebuilding process. Some will receive training on how to make bricks and anyone working on brickmaking and construction will receive a wage. So not only does the village get a new school, but the community is learning new skills that can generate income in the future.
The manual compression machine will be given to the village so they can use it to construct more buildings, extend the school as and when
necessary and use it to produce bricks to sell to neighbouring villages for some extra income.
Work is already underway and, if all goes to plan, the new school should be completed before the monsoon rains come again in June!
Without your support this would not have been possible. Thank you.
28th MARCH UPDATE
An unusually cold spell of weather has been hampering the re-build – as you can see from these photos – but the villagers are pushing on!