With more than 25,000 classrooms destroyed and an additional 10,000 classrooms needing repair, Plan International has built temporary learning centres in some of the worst-affected areas, along with providing more than 1,200 education kits (which include a school bag and classroom supplies) and training teachers, to ensure that children can resume their education.
Getting children back to school is urgent for parents
“Plan knows that getting children back to school is urgent for parents, and our temporary learning centres will offer an immediate solution for children. While the reopening of schools is a positive step forward in our recovery, there are still thousands of schools destroyed or damaged beyond repair, meaning that hundreds of thousands of children will not be able to return to school on 31 May,” says Mattias Bryneson, Plan International Nepal Country Director.
Building learning centres
Prior to the 25 April earthquake, Plan International’s Safe Schools project in Nepal focused on retrofitting schools throughout the country to ensure they can withstand the impact of a future earthquake. To date, Plan has retrofitted 11 schools and an additional 10 are underway. Such schools can be seen in Makwanpur, where buildings are intact, safe, and ready for students to return to class.
Our temporary learning centres contain 2 classrooms and can accommodate up to 200 students each day, many of which will be equipped with white boards, stationery kits and recreational materials and toys for small children.
Plan International intends to build more than 225 learning centres in the near future, some of which will include water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, including latrines and access to water points. All centres will consider the needs of children with disabilities, girls and others that often struggle to gain access to schooling.
Safe spaces for children
In the initial aftermath of a disaster, education provides a safe space where children are physically protected from trafficking, child labour and other risks.
“In the initial aftermath of a disaster, education provides a safe space where children are physically protected from trafficking, child labour and other risks. This is particularly crucial for girls who may be at risk of being trafficked. Schools are also places where children receive life-saving information, psychosocial support and a chance to re-connect with friends. It helps them to normalise their lives,” says Sweta Shah, Education in Emergencies Specialist with Plan International.
We will provide teachers with training on psychosocial support, disaster preparedness and how to support children with disabilities, among other key tasks – to ensure they are able to meet the needs and demands of children who are dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake.
“Education must always be a priority and should be seen as a life-saving intervention, particularly in an emergency setting. In 2014, just 1% of humanitarian funding went to emergency education – and the limitations of this have been made clear. Quality education is key for Nepal’s recovery, and we must ensure that it continues to be a priority in both the emergency response and long-term recovery plans,” says Bryneson.
Plan International’s support for communities also continues, with distribution of relief aid to some of the worst-affected areas of Nepal, including Sindupalchowk, Dolakha and Makwanpur districts. So far Plan has delivered more than 34,800 tarpaulins, plus ropes, blankets, mattresses and mosquito bed nets, to provide emergency shelter for families forced to sleep in the open.
Plan International has also distributed more than 15,300 food packs, over 42,650 water purification tabs and over 10,600 water kits.
Altogether, we have reached approximately 158,500 people in need of support, including more than 66,300 children.