NEPAL: Salesian missionaries’ humanitarian effort to rebuild 10 schools impacts more than 1,500 students
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have continued to rebuild schools and other structures in Nepal after two earthquakes in 2015 caused massive destruction in the country. A devastating 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, followed by a second earthquake that struck on May 12. More than 8,000 people died and close to 20,000 were injured as a result of the earthquakes and their aftermath.
Forty of Nepal’s 75 districts were affected, 16 of them severely, with homes, schools, buildings, cattle, fields ready for harvest and other property destroyed. More than 500,000 people were displaced and were in need of shelter and other assistance. The United Nations reported that more than 1,300 schools were destroyed during the earthquakes.
Immediately following the earthquake, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, launched an emergency fund to assist Salesian missionaries in Nepal.
The funding goes directly to support relief efforts on the ground in remote villages and affected communities, especially those in the Kathmandu Valley where Salesian missionaries operate two programs. Don Bosco Thecho is a technical school located in the Kathmandu suburb of Lubhu and Don Bosco Siddhipur is located in the Lalitpur district and offers both a primary and secondary school.
Salesian missionaries responded immediately providing food, clothing, medical aid and shelter for those in need. They also built 21 temporary learning centers in the months following the earthquake. Once the learning centers were completed, government officers and other non-government organizations acknowledged that the temporary learning centers built by the Salesian missionaries and students were of such high quality they could possibly serve as permanent school buildings.
Salesian aid in Nepal has impacted more than 1,500 children and older youth who are returning to school. These children will have the opportunity to learn in new classrooms with new desks and blackboards. To date, 10 schools have been built and equipped in small villages in the Kathmandu valley. Salesian programs are also helping to supply school materials and train teachers in order to offer children quality education.
“The aid that has been provided to us that we are able to use to help rebuild communities, shows our commitment in the country and for the people, but above all, for the children and young people who need it most,” says Father Augusty, a Salesian missionary in Nepal.
Salesian missionaries are also assessing and addressing long-term training needs of the local residents, who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the earthquakes. Part of the Salesian plan for the reconstruction of schools is to utilize Salesian students and recent graduates of Don Bosco Thecho to help with rebuilding efforts, allowing them to hone their skills and have hands-on experience while giving back to their communities.
“Salesian missionaries living and working in Nepal are engaging in long-term reconstruction efforts, helping communities to rebuild homes and schools,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions. “One of the primary training efforts underway is helping to further the reconstruction efforts and put those in the community who have lost their livelihoods back to work. Salesian missionaries are using the technical school at Thecho to train young men and women in the building and construction skills needed to assist in reconstruction.”