Nepal was hit by major earthquakes, measuring 7.8 and 7.4 on the Richter scale, on April 25 and May 12, 2015, respectively. Many parts of the country were severely affected with the more than 9,000 casualties. Sindhupalchowk was the most affected district in terms of casualties. After undertaking immediate relief activities, Tata Trusts’ Nepal Earthquake Rehabilitation Initiative focused its long-term efforts on restoring infrastructure destroyed in the disaster. The objectives of the project are to: (a) improve the infrastructure for education in Sindhupalchowk district; (b) increase the number of gender-friendly toilets in schools; (c) strengthen the education system by providing school materials and psychosocial counselling to make learning fun; and (d) promote water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour among the students and the community in the catchment area. As part of the project, the Trusts are facilitating the reconstruction of seven secondary schools and one health post.
The Trusts, in partnership with Sipradian Sahayata Sanstha (SSS), reconstructed the Shree Sharada Higher Secondary School in Sindhupalchowk as part of the rehabilitation initiative. The April 2015 earthquake had badly damaged the school, destroying classrooms, the science lab and other facilities. The redesigned school, with its modern layout and disabled-friendly facilities is built to be resistant to earthquakes.
The reconstructed building of Shree Sharada Higher Secondary School, handed over by the Trusts and SSS, was inaugurated by His Excellency Manjeev Singh Puri, Ambassador of India to Nepal. Ambassador Puri talked about the mutual respect shared by both countries and how their friendship goes back many centuries. He further emphasised India’s unswerving support for Nepal’s economic drive.
Toya Nath Nepal, the head master of the school, talked about the difficulties faced by the school in conducting classes after the building was destroyed by the earthquake. Stressing on the fact that classes had to be conducted in the open, Mr Nepal expressed his gratitude to Tata Trusts and SSS for their invaluable support to the school.
Speaking on the occasion, Burzis S Taraporevala, Senior Advisor, Tata Trusts, said, “It was quite unfortunate that an earthquake occurred in Nepal in 2015 where many lives were lost, homes and schools were damaged, families were displaced and livelihoods were affected. However, this gave Tata Trusts a golden opportunity to intervene beyond India and give assistance to the people affected by the earthquake. We hope this place will bloom the best minds of the country in the future.”
Shambhu Prasad Dahal, Director, Sipradi Companies, and Senior Vice Chairman, SSS, added that everything from structured engineering to fully furnished classroom facilities had been taken care of by the Trusts and SSS. “We have been giving our heart and soul to these rehabilitation projects for the past few years,” said Mr Dahal. “We have always given our sincere dedication to CSR activities and will continue to do so in the future as well.”
The event was also attended by Mohan Bahadur Basnet, former Minister for Information and Communications, Government of Nepal; Amrita Patwardhan, Zonal Head, Tata Trusts; Dharani Ratno, Senior Regional Manager, Tata Trusts; Tam Lal Pokharel, Area Manager, Nepal; and other senior officials of Sipradi companies. The CDO, SP, Chief of DLPIU, District Army Chief of Sindhupalchok, Mayor of Barhabise Municipality, and ward members of the localities also attended the event.