Making progress, but challenges lie ahead

PHF Volunteers Lester and Sox have one wish: to make learning possible for 60 children living in Namkheli Village.

Located in the Chaulakharka District nestled amidst the remote and mountainous Solukhumbu Region of Nepal, about 5,000 people live in this area, with an average household income of about USD26 per month. There was originally a school being built for the 60 children to go to, but then funding from the government stopped, and the school was never completed.

And so in early 2012, Lester and Sox begun fund-raising to build “Manjushri-SINGA Primary School”, which will also double-up as a community centre for the villagers to learn handicraft-making for sale and other communal activities.

Lester made a trip to Nepal in April and during the trip, learnt that construction had already commenced with the wood chopping and stone breaking. The local partner has hired 6 local wood choppers and 5 stone breakers, and in the near future, plan to have more builders on board to form a team of 30 workers to complete the school. For the moment, the school-building project seems to be making good progress.

The estimated date of completion is between end May to mid June 2012 – assuming nothing goes wrong with the construction or delivery of materials. This deadline is crucial as the school is plastered with clay, instead of cement, which will only dry well in spring. Should the construction be delayed, the monsoon season will begin and the clay will not dry, hence jeopardizing the construction. Also, it’s only after the clay has tried that the furniture for the school can be installed.

Yet time and weather conditions are not the only concern. Lester received a call informing him about political unrest, which has resulted in the closure of roads in the East and West of Nepal. Everyone is monitoring the progress closely, fearful that the only road to Namkheli might be affected, which would inevitably pose a great hindrance to the construction schedule.

The team has overcome the first hurdle of securing the funds for the school through a fund-raising dinner at The American Club championed by volunteer Emily Chang. Let’s hope the ground team will be able to leap over whatever challenges that come their way so that the school will be built according to schedule.