Quake-Affected Schools Resume Classes Amid Challenges

By Goh Lam Kia
Translated by Wu Hsiao-ting
Photos by Unish Khyaju

A shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 struck Jajarkot District, Karnali Province, Nepal, on November 3, 2023. This disaster resulted in over 150 fatalities, more than 300 injuries, and severe damage to 6,000 houses and other structures. Bheri Tribeni Secondary School (BTSS) in Rimna village, only 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the epicenter, lost 11 classrooms. Despite the challenges, classes resumed on November 20. Local residents set up makeshift tents using plastic sheets and bamboo, with students attending lessons on the ground.

Tzu Chi volunteers arrived following the quake from Lumbini, over 310 kilometers (193 miles) away, to assess the damage. They decided to build 40 temporary classrooms for five schools and evaluate the possibility of assisting in the reconstruction of BTSS.

Construction materials for the temporary classrooms were transported from Lumbini. Using the BTSS grounds as a demonstration site, volunteers employed local villagers for labor. They taught them to use power tools and understand construction drawings for assembling the framework and wall panels. Within two days, the first classroom was completed. Once finished, children eagerly moved in with desks and chairs. Volunteers provided additional help by offering new textbooks and school supplies. Construction followed in the other four schools to ensure that students could receive lessons in more comfortable settings as soon as possible.

Photo by Zhang Bo-lin

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