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REBUILDING DAWA'S DREAM: IRT rebuilds an English boarding school after the devastating Nepal earthquakes

July 19, 2017

Dawa is a Nepali Sherpa with a dream to bring quality education to his small, Nepali village called Lukla near Mt. Everest. His dream became reality in April, 2015 when he established the first English-based boarding school in the Everest region, providing the children of Lukla and neighboring villages with the opportunity to get an education. On May 12, 2015, after the school was in operation for only one month, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and sent the walls of the newly-built school crashing down.

Growing up in Lukla, Dawa could only attend school for six years until he was forced to quit and start providing for his family. Dawa chose to risk his life every day as a climbing guide, leading expeditions around the world. After 36 years working in this grueling profession, Dawa was able to return home and build the Himalayan English Boarding School (HEBS) in Lukla, using mostly his own money.  

The children moved to tents after the earthquake

A New Beginning

IRT is partnering with SherpaCares, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that has been aiding the children and families of Nepal for the last 14 years, to rebuild and expand the school using earthquake-resilient construction and to give its students a safe and comfortable place to live and learn. Construction teams have already broken ground on the new and improved HEBS.

Construction underway on a new classroom                          

Young students participate in learning activities outside HEBS' destroyed classrooms

 

Before HEBS, poor families in the Everest region spent every cent they had to send their children to distant and expensive private schools in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. These children, some as young as four years old, would then lose their native language and customs and become estranged from their families and culture. HEBS, when rebuilt, will once again provide an English-language education with a curriculum that enables children to retain and practice their native language and customs. This school is a global model for educating the world’s poorest children while preserving their culture but giving them the opportunity to thrive.

 

IRT immediately responded to the earthquakes that devastated Nepal in April and May of 2015, a disaster that killed 8,000 people and injured an estimated 23,000 more. In partnership with MAP International and International Medical Corps, we procured and airlifted two shipments of medicines to Nepal – enough to sustain 20,000 people for three months. In partnership with Concern Worldwide, we procured enough shelter and hygiene kits from local sources to support 3,000 families left homeless by the earthquake in three districts. Furthermore, IRT and Concern constructed nearly 400 temporary classrooms at 47 damaged schools in Dolakha district.

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