During the earthquake in spring 2015 the small, isolated and impoverished village of Bhardeu, which is located about 25 km away from Kathmandu in the mountains, was particularly hard hit. 4 out of 5 buildings and the toilets were not able to withstand the vibrations and fell completely victim to the destruction. The school offers as a Higher Secondary School classes till the 12th grade and has an enormous importance for the development of the entire region. The population are originated from Tibet and came to this region about 1,000 years ago. Back to Life immediately started a rapid reconstruction of as many buildings as possible to ensure effective lessons as soon as possible again.

On December 4th, 2015 the two reconstructed school buildings and new toilet facilities were officially inaugurated in Bhardeu. Teachers, students and families as well as members of our team and official representatives of the school authority were present at this festivity. Mr. Ghalan, the headmaster of the school, is very happy: ‘On behalf of the children, teachers and families I want to express our deepest thank you and want to congratulate you for your great work. Thank you, that you ensured the reconstruction of the destroyed buildings.’ He continues: ‘Not only did we receive two new buildings, which are much more comfortable than those we had before, but also the whole equipment: new, clean and great toilet facilities, new desks, benches and a lot of learning material. The whole school was completely renovated and painted. This was not only a reconstruction it is a rebirth of the school on a whole new level.’

After the earthquake, 8 class rooms were destroyed from one second to the other and could not be used anymore. Those who were still in use were crammed with students – complete chaos. Some classes even preferred the lessons outside in the open air which was only possible till the monsoon started. The two new school buildings finally ensure regular lessons because with the new 4 class rooms sound teaching is possible again. A real alleviation for the 323 students.

Even despite the starting monsoon season which made the task quite difficult the reconstruction went fast. The trucks were not able reach the top of the hill and got stuck. Thus, the whole material such as cement, bricks, iron bars and the like had to be carried uphill on the back of the villagers. Even during the reconstruction, the heavy rain caused major problems. But apart from our team the families of the students helped as well, and the reconstruction was successfully completed. It was ensured that as many materials as possible were recycled. Especially the old zinc roofs, doors and undamaged windows were recycled. The walls were made of environmentally friendly Eco-Tech bricks that are made of recycled stone dust and cement.

Lalita Lopchan is a student of the school of Bhardeu und visits the 11th grade. She remembers: ‘It was a real tragedy when the buildings collapsed. We all lost our hope. I still know how it felt when I saw the level of destruction for the first time: no stone was left on top of the other. Now, six months later these two beautiful new buildings are standing here, and they are even prettier than the ones before. We have our hope back. We were afraid that we would never have lessons again. Now we are very happy.’

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