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A safe place to learn

8. July 2016 - Nepal
In an event of disaster the relief workers from arche noVa concentrate first of all on an essential basic need: water. Like we did in the Nepalese community Ghyangphedi, which got hit by the worst earthquake since over 80 years. Shortly after the disaster the arche noVa staff started to repair the water pipelines and the tapping of the springs.

However, soon the team from arche noVa realized that there were other grave consequences of the earthquake: All schools in Ghyangphedi were destroyed. Temporary shanties served as provisional alternatives. Because that could not be a permanent condition, arche noVa started at the end of April 2016 to rehabilitate the Janaki elementary school and even extended the school with one additional classroom. Not an easy task, as it is a big challenge to carry the material up to 2,000 meters above sea level. Only at the dry season it is possible to get to the region and you have to walk for hours to reach some of the settlements. In the rainy season the path is too dangerous as there is a high risk of landslides.

Therefore the new school was built out of prefabricated construction elements that are well-established in industrial constructions worldwide already. The flame-resistant sandwich elements out of steel panels and PU-core have many advantages: the panels are easily put and screwed together. They are stable and comparatively cost-efficient. Galvanization and varnish of the steel plate make further treatment (plastering, painting, or the like) superfluous. Furthermore the PU-Core insulates against heat and coldness and makes learning more pleasant for the children.

Additionally buildings made from sandwich panels are particularly earthquake-resistant. A school in the neighbour district that was constructed with this method was the only building in the area, which survived the earthquake unscathed. In case of emergency this allows to use the school as emergency shelter and evacuation center. Another – in Gyangphedi decisive – advantage is the minimum weight of the single components. Hence the material can be even carried upward.

arche noVa took not only care for the construction work, but also installed a rainwater collection system. With the collected water the pupils can wash their hands and can flush the also newly built toilets. Moreover the team organized used school furniture in the nearest large town Bidur and purified them. At the end of June the construction work was completed.