Ram Gurung/Team Rubicon UK
In April last year, pictures of Britain’s Prince Harry labouring to rebuild an earthquake-damaged school in Dharche in Gorkha created waves in the Nepali media. A year later, reconstruction work at the same school, Prabhatikaran Secondary School, is complete.
Children, teachers and parents of the school cannot contain their happiness. Students, who had been studying in makeshift tin shelters, are excited to be moving into a sturdier building.
Principal Jiba Tamu explained that the earthquake-resistant school with 12 rooms was built after an investment of Rs 35 lakhs. It is now gearing up to conduct classes from its new building once the next session starts.
Prince Harry had spent six days in Lapubesi, a village at the epicentre of the April 2015 earthquake, during his official visit to Nepal last year. On hearing that Prabhatikaran Secondary School needed rebuilding help, Harry volunteered with Team Rubicon UK. It was then that pictures of the prince carrying wooden beams and sacks of cement surfaced in the Nepali media.
News that the school’s new building has been completed has already been conveyed to Prince Harry, says Team Rubicon.
However, the school is not without problems. Although the building is done, it still lacks furniture and teaching materials. Since students have to travel long distances to reach the school it also needs a hostel, said the principal but, “there is no budget,” explained Tamu.
Prabhatikaran is among the minority of schools to have been rebuilt in Gorkha. In total, 443 schools in the district were destroyed by the earthquake. Only 100 have been rebuilt so far, according to the district education office.