Building a Winter School

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Description

Helping to build a new school for the winter months for children from the remote Upper Mustang region of Nepal.


Project details

  • Location : Archalbot, Pokhara, Kaski District
  • Institution : Chhonhup Community Winter School (6 schools combined from the Chhonhup VDC, Upper Mustang)
  • Population : Students: 30, teachers: 8, grades: 1 to 4
  • Date : Completed in 2017
  • Category : Infrastructure,

Before the start of the winter months, when temperatures are approaching freezing point during the day, schools in the Upper Mustang region near the Tibetan border with Nepal close their doors and move to lower altitudes to continue teaching. Essentially, there is a winter migration of schools to warmer areas for around four months of the year.

In 2015, we met the teachers and children from six primary schools from the Chhonhup VDC in Upper Mustang soon after they completed a three-day journey from their mountain home at an altitude of around 4,200 metres to the warmer outskirts of Pokhara city where they rented a one-room building. This was their home and classroom for all grades for the winter.

The children slept on mattresses a few inches thick on a bare concrete floor and a courtyard at the rear of the building, covered with a plastic tarpaulin and furnished with plastic chairs, was where many classes were taught.

The six schools come together during the winter months to become the Chhonhup Community Winter School. Teachers conduct classes during normal school hours and after hours they become the children’s carers. The parents go to other parts of Nepal or India during the winter school period to earn money to support the family for the coming year.

Over the years’ the Chhonhup community collected enough money to purchase land, located 15km West of Pokhara, to build their own school but not enough to start construction.

We provided the initial funding in 2015 to help commence the construction of the new school. In 2016, significant additional funding came from Korean sponsors that would allow the building to be fully constructed. We are happy to report that the building was completed earlier this year.

We also provided educational support for the school in 2016 with the purchase of educational materials and placed an experienced teacher at the school for three months to help with teaching and the professional development of local teachers.