Children return to school after Nepal earthquake

Education is accessible again in Nepal after school buildings were damaged in April’s earthquake

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Thousands of Nepalese children returned schools on Sunday, five weeks after a strong earthquake hit the country on April 25 and left more than 8,600 people dead.

Education was continued in tents and bamboo classrooms after 8,000 schools and 25,000 classrooms were destroyed by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks, which affected a third of the total population in Nepal.

United Nations Children’s Fund says that the devastating earthquake badly affected more than a million children.

"Education can't wait for all recovery and reconstruction," Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF representative in Nepal told Reuters as he visited a temporary learning centre.

"Opening of schools even in temporary centers has several benefits. It provides psychosocial recovery of children who are in stress, protects them from violence ... the risk of being trafficked and their parents can go to work," Hozumi added.

Before their lessons begin in two weeks, children will attend cultural activities, play with their peers and teachers to recover from trauma.

UN has also distributed to children colouring books, puzzles and educational kits helping them to forget their traumatic experience.   

"The children are very happy here to engage themselves with different kinds of playing materials," said Unicef early childhood development specialist, Shiva Bhusal.

Despite the efforts for children, families are concerned about the sending their kids to school.

"Aftershocks are still continuing. It is difficult not to be nervous about sending the children back to school again," Mina Shrestha, mother of eight-year-old pupil Sahaj, told AFP news agency.

According to UNICEF, $24.1 million is needed to hire 19,000 teachers, build training centres and provide children psychosocial support in Nepal.

TRTWorld and agencies