On the morning of January 22, 2018, representatives from MCC Nepal, Concern Worldwide, Chandrajyoti Integrated Rural Development Society (CIRDS), local students and members of the Mahadev Besi community in Dhading District in Nepal met to celebrate the completed reconstruction of the Janajagriti Higher Secondary School. The school had been badly damaged in Nepal’s 2015 earthquake – 4 rooms had partially collapsed and large cracks ran through the walls – yet the support columns and beams remained intact. Using sustainable and earthquake-resistant building practices, MCC partnered with Concern and their local partner, CIRDS, to retrofit the building rather than demolish it and build it new.
Members of the community had the opportunity to earn income as laborers during the reconstruction process, and they also benefited from trainings on disaster preparedness and safe building practices. One mother of a highschool student, Sita Puri, commented that she was thrilled to hear about the school’s reconstruction, not only for the benefit of her daughter who was a student there, but also for the opportunity to be employed as part of the reconstruction efforts:
“I am a painter by trade and I was very willing to work on the project, as it aimed to provide secure and sound learning environment. I’ve been working as a painter for a decade now. But this job is special for me and the other laborers as this is the school where our children study. Projects like this should be brought more in our community. We are happy that this project made our community’s school stronger and provided job opportunities for me and other people like me from our community.””
As we gathered that day in Dhading, members of local government officially took over the management of the school building project and declared it officially open for learning to resume!
This marked the completion of one of MCC Nepal’s earthquake reconstruction projects, though eight other projects remain active and aim to assist with the ongoing recovery effort and to build up the preparedness of local communities in the event of future disasters.