Traveller Stories: Helping Rebuild Nepal at Manju Shree Primary School

The catastrophic earthquakes that shook Nepal on 25 April, 2015, left over 5000 schools across Nepal damaged. Our Rebuild Nepal Community Projects aim to help remote communities rebuild their schools, with the World Expeditions Foundation funding the projects.

Sheila Groves was one of the generous travellers on our Manju Shree Primary School rebuild trip in March this year and she writes about how spending 10 days in the Lura School community was a life-changing trip. Read on to hear about her incredible adventure!

Rebuild Nepal Community Project: Manju Shree Primary School in Nepal

The opportunity to spend 10 days at Lura School was a life changing trip. We arrived with trepidation as to what we would be doing and were met with such a warm welcome by the community that there were tears in many eyes.

The team with Everest behind us!

We worked very hard but the locals worked even harder. All our efforts were eclipsed by the young men that quarried out the local stone for the rebuild and then carried it a few blocks at a time up to the school; by the young ladies that carried heavy bags of cement up the steep hillside to the school; by the few local builders who had to direct us about the various tasks. We had tremendous fun each and every day despite being amazed at the complete lack of mechanisation for every single task.

Being onsite with the children was amazingly motivating. Their smiling faces spurred us on every day. Our morning break coincided with the children’s assembly so we joined in with the exercises at the back of the class. Just because we weren’t school children didn’t stop us getting told off by the teachers if we did the exercises wrong!   Every lunchtime we played games with the children who very quickly overcame their shyness and worked their way firmly into our hearts.

It was a privilege being part of the community, waving to the families as we passed by their houses going to and from the campsite; trying to communicate with the ladies doing their washing at the stream.

One of my highlights was the honour that Lakpa Tamang bestowed on us when he invited us into his home after the farewell party and allowed us to look around and explained how the house was set out and, of course, was most generous with his hospitality. The whole village came together to give us an amazing send off party.  It was so humbling as family after family gave us each marigold garlands and scarves – more tears from us which they laughed at!

The trek following the school work was great and the view of Everest first thing in the morning from the high camp was breathtaking. Having worked alongside our trek leader, Sherpas and Sirdar for the previous ten days made the trek more special as we had by then spent time getting to know each other.

Early morning at high camp waiting for Everest to appear!

Best breakfast in the world!Best breakfast in the world!

As I sit at home back in Scotland, I think a lot of the people of Lura and how they gave us so much when they had so little.  I look at all the little faces from my hundreds of photos some of which have made their way to my kitchen wall and remember all the fun we had.  

I am so impressed by the progress made on the school. Those few folk have made amazing progress. I look at each block of stone and marvel that it was extracted by hand and pickax from the hillside and shaped without any mechanism. The sooner that we can get those little children into proper classrooms and sheltered from the weather the better.  Sign up for this trip – you will not regret it.

The giant taxi that collected us from the airport

Do you want to help Rebuild Nepal in 2017?

Our Rebuild Nepal Community Projects are sustainable with a focus on:

  1. Consultation: We have ongoing consultation with the heads of schools and broader community, with the Nepal Ministry of Education and experts in field of construction methods in earthquake prone regions.
  2. Collaboration: in addition to the manpower offered by travellers, the reconstruction of these schools will involve the paid skills of local tradespeople as well as local volunteers. It will be a collaborative and collective effort to rebuild the schools and the local community will be engaged throughout the process.
  3. Education: we will train local members of the community in the skills required to construct earthquake tolerant structures that have been approved by the Nepal Ministry of Education.

Embark on an adventure of a life-time whilst making a difference and join a rebuild project in 2017! Stay tuned for an announcement of our 2017 Rebuild Nepal Project dates. 


Community project, Nepal, Rebuild Nepal, Responsible Travel Nepal

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