By Dr. Werner Strahl
I just returned from Nepal, where I participated in the ceremonial and joyful opening of the first two schools, which were built in11 month only and are now earthquake safe.
On April 24th, 2015 a devastating earthquake in the strength of 7 to 8 destroyed “our” village Judeegaun nearly completely. Only three days later our emergency aid team with the nurses Ana and Philippe Valentine and the logistic expert Juergen Maul were at site, took care of the sick and wounded, provided goods and food and started to plan for the reconstruction.
Great luck was the local organizer Anil Saptoka, who studied in Muenster, Germany and was able to establish a construction team in an instant and to motivate the village people. 250 pupils hat to be educated under a quickly erected corrugated iron roof.
We can be very proud of the result after only one year of reconstruction. Five new school pavilions shine in blue and white high up on the hill. 150 additional pupils sign in. The government raised the Primary school to the Secondary school level up to the 10th year. In light of the otherwise very slow governmental and international support the German ambassador is very pleased with our project. With the same principle we will erect another school in the mountain village of Chandeni. The big problem of clean water we will address at the end of the dry period with building wells and pumping stations.
Together with more the 2500 people taking part in the opening ceremony on May 7th, we were more than happy. Local tailors had made custom made uniforms for the pupils and they received urgently needed shoes, too. Their singing and dancing performances were wonderful. This was gold plated by local song stars and honored by authorities, who praised our practical help and sharply criticized the government. So far only 200 dollars have been paid to the families while 2000 were promised, and thus most of them still live in very miserable huts.
This critic is shared by our construction head Horst Huehnlein, who drudged for a lot of our projects, but now enthuses: “I never and nowhere felt so well and welcome among locals like here in Nepal”. I return deeply impressed from the quiet and respectful company with people, too. No crying children, happy pupils, who intensively learn and follow the quiet advises of the teachers.
The caste system officially abandoned but still in place, is not followed in our schools. The schools are mainly used by the so called “untouchables”, whose poverty moves us most.
Our hearty thanks go to all our donators and sponsors, who enabled this successful reconstruction.