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Education helps Nepal’s children recover from disaster

Education helps Nepal’s children recover from disaster

The schools of more than one million children were destroyed by the Nepal earthquakes this year.

A school destroyed by the Nepal earthquakes

Education is one of the major casualties in all disasters. Globally, 28 million children are denied an education because they live in conflict or emergency affected areas. But in 2014 only one per cent of humanitarian funds deployed went to education.

Temporary learning centres

In a new temporary learning centre in the Dolakha region, Namuna, 15, carefully follows her maths teacher’s calculations on the blackboard in her new classroom. It’s the first proper school day in her village since the first earthquake on 25 April and the tenth graders are full of enthusiasm even though the room is hot and crowded.

Children learn maths in a temporary school after the Nepal earthquakes

All 550 pupils of the school lost their homes in the earthquakes. To start school again helps these children regain a sense of hope and provides routine in the middle of chaos. “I’m happy to be back in school again. After the earthquake, we could not continue studying like we should have done. Now we have just started and I don’t know if we will have continuity in our studies,” says Namuna. 

Namuna stands among rubble after the Nepal earthquakes

Most teachers have also lost their homes and stay in temporary shelters. Niva, 16, tells us that when Plan International came to the village to distribute shelter materials people started arguing with each other about who should have priority. “Some thought only the poorest should get the material and not the teachers in our village. But I said that if the teachers are affected they should get help too. Otherwise, we won’t get any education!” 

Niva wants teachers to receive aid following the Nepal earthquakes

Helping children to recover

Further up on the mountain ridge, via a steep, winding road, lies another village where some of the teachers are camping beside Plan International’s temporary learning centre near the ruins of the old school. The school principal Makunda Raj Shivakoh lives nearby and has come to the school compound every day since the earthquakes to talk to the children. “In the beginning, they were terrorised,” says Shivakoh. “There was a community shelter here the first weeks. All of my 450 pupils have lost their homes.”

A school destroyed by the Nepal earthquake

Plan International set up a child-friendly space – a safe place where children can play, learn and receive emotional support - in this village and has also created a temporary learning centre which will open soon. “It is so important for the children to come together and play. You see in their faces that they are much happier and relaxed now,” says the principal. 

Children return to school after the Nepal earthquakes

Helping children to deal with trauma after a disaster like this is one of the most important tasks for us. Providing education is central to this task. To date, we've set up 50 child-friendly spaces and 47 temporary learning spaces in earthquake affected areas. 

Child smiles in her school uniform

Just two days ago, Plan International welcomed a high-level Commission on the Financing of Global Education Opportunities that will champion investment in education worldwide, announced at the Oslo Summit on Education. We're advocating that efforts for financing global education should also extend to conflict and humanitarian settings where it is sorely needed. Getting children back to school as quickly as possible after a disaster should be a priority.

 

Children suffer most in a disaster

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