“School up!”: The new school is finished

The new school in Thulosirubari

I am moved, I am over the moon: The expedition “School up!” was successful. The summit has been reached – after almost four years of ascent, which demanded great commitment and staying power from all members.

A few days ago the people in the small mountain village of Thulosirubari, some 70 kilometers east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, celebrated the completion of construction work on the new school. After another construction period of almost one year, the third section of the building has now also been completed, with eight new classrooms and a two-story toilet house. A total of 20 classrooms, a teachers’ room and a sufficient number of toilets are now available for several hundred children and young people from Thulosirubari and the surrounding area. Who would have thought this possible after the catastrophe on 25 April 2015?

Ghostly silence

The school in Thulosirubari after the earthquake

On that day Nepal was shaken by a devastating earthquake. Almost 9,000 people lost their lives, 23,000 were injured, hundreds of thousands of houses collapsed or became uninhabitable. Sindhupalchowk District, where Thulosirubari is located, was particularly hard hit. In the mountain village alone 75 people died, including eight children, who had been students of the “Ralf and Gerlinde School”,which had been built by the German aid organization “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” and inaugurated six years before. Only the fact that the earth shook on a Saturday off school, prevented more young victims. Just 30 to 40 of the 1,800 houses in the region around the village remained undamaged.

“Where once was hubbub, is now ghostly silence,” Ralf Dujmovits told me at the time. The first and so far only German climber to scale all 14 eight-thousanders visited Thulosirubari a few days after the earthquake: “The people are standing around staring at the ruins of their homes. They do not even know where to start to clean up.”

Two and a half years construction time

First lessons in the new classrooms

In June 2015 I launched the aid project “School up!” together with Ralf and the Austrian top climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (she was the first woman to climb all eight-thousanders without bottled oxygen). The goal of the donation campaign was to rebuild the Thulosirubari school, which had been destroyed by the earthquake, as quickly as possible. All donations for “School up!” went purposefully into this one project. The administration of the donations and the construction was taken over by “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” whose members have been working for the people in the Himalayan state for more than a quarter of a century with numerous projects.

The old school was demolished in fall 2015 and the foundation stone for the new school was laid in September 2016. A year ago, in March 2018, the people of Thulosirubari celebrated the inauguration of the first two buildings with a great festival. “You not only helped us, but also gave us new courage,” said Devi Dulal, chairman of the School Committee, at the ceremony. On that day, Ralf and I laid the foundation stone for the third section – which has now been completed. And Thulosirubari celebrated again.

A new beginning for dreams

This success story was made possible by you, the donors of “School up!”. Once again I would like to thank you for the great support – also on behalf of the children and young people of Thulosirubari who sent this message of thanks a year ago: “We still remember that day. It was Saturday, 25 April 2015, when we lost our houses – and our dreams too between the collapsed buildings. We heard that God comes in many shapes. Some came to our place to reshape our damaged confidence. With our open heart, we thank you for your big heart, for reviving our hopes again. And our dreams have now got a new start.”

Money needed for interior fittings

Even though the construction of the school has now been completed, we continue to collect donations – for the interior fittings: school furniture, blackboards, teaching materials … Because “a school is only a school if it can also provide meaningful lessons,” as Michael Rebele from “Nepalhilfe Beilngries” says. Here once again is the bank account for all those who want to support “School up!”:

Recipient: Nepalhilfe Beilngries e.V..
Bank: Volksbank Bayern Mitte eG/Germany
IBAN: DE05 7216 0818 0004 6227 07
BIC/SWIFT-Code: GENODEF1INP
Intended purpose: Gerlinde and Ralf School

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