The High Country to Himalayas Educational Alliance

The High Country to Himalayas Educational Alliance is a project of The Climate Times to rebuild a rural school in Nepal that was destroyed by last spring’s earthquakes and to create an enduring educational alliance between the High Country community and the Eastern region of Nepal.

On April 25, 2015 Nepal was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that was followed by a 7.3 magnitude quake on May 12.  Accompanied by hundreds of aftershocks these two massive earthquakes killed over 10,000 and injured more than 25,000. Hundreds of thousands were left homeless. Damage to homes, buildings, and infrastructure like roads, bridges, electrical grids, dams and more is estimated at more than half of the country’s annual GDP. International aid, both delivered and promised, amounts to less than half of what is necessary to replace what was lost.

Reconstruction aid has not yet reached most rural areas. Tens of thousands of people had to live in tents or hastily constructed shelters created out of local materials throughout the harsh Nepali winter. The destruction and lack of sufficient aid has created an emergency situation in a country which prior to the earthquakes was one of the poorest countries on the planet.

One of those rural communities is the village of Saipu in east-central Nepal. Over 85% of the structures in the village of 3000 people were destroyed. Also demolished was a community school that provided an education for over 300 children, half of them girls. The school also served as a community center. Built in 2000, the school provided the first and only opportunity for children to attend school locally. Prior to that time only a few local children whose families had the financial means to send them to boarding schools long distances from Saipu had access to education. Girls almost never had that opportunity. Now many graduates of the Saipu school have gone on to higher levels of education and some of them have actually become rural school teachers.

All of that opportunity is no more. If and when reconstruction assistance arrives in Saipu it will be focused on rebuilding homes. It is unlikely that the school will be rebuilt soon unless there is private, outside help.

A group of students and faculty at Appalachian State University has joined forces with local businesses, student clubs, and other citizens to form the High Country to Himalayas Educational Alliance. With the help of The Climate Times, HCHEA’s initial goal is to raise funds to rebuild the school. Currently the campaign is more than 20% toward its goal of $16,000. But the rebuilding of the school is just the first step. The long-range goal of The Climate Times and HCHEA is to create a lasting relationship between the High Country of Northwestern North Carolina and the region of Nepal where Saipu is located.

Future plans are to bring solar panels and other appropriate technologies to the Nepali school and the community at large, as well as to provide educational exchanges between the two regions.

Tax deductible contributions may be made payable to The Climate Times and designated for the HCHEA campaign. Checks can be mailed to The Climate Times at 234 North Water Street, Boone, NC 28607.

Stay tuned for updates.