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Building a School in Nepal

A new primary school is being built in my home town in Ireland. The project looks like it’s going to take six months to complete. Five months in, the main buildings are standing, the grass has been laid, and the colourful paint has been applied. It looks like a typical modern school in any western country: two stories high, complete with computer rooms, music rooms, and fully outfitted classrooms.


Schools in Nepal are different. Outside Kathmandu and the main towns, the construction of new schools lies outside government control. If a school is built, it won’t be built with tax payers money. The government will not be paying the contractors who erect the walls, policing the materials used, or monitoring the building quality to ensure standards are kept. There are no regulations to be enforced.

The government role that we are so familiar with in the west is filled by charities and concerned locals. The funding for the school being built in the pictures below comes from an Australian charity (FHC). It’s an extension to an older, one-roomed school that served the village for many years, and it’s much needed.

The pictures below were taken a couple of years ago as a new school extension was being built in a small village in the mountains of Nepal.

Building a new school

The labour was all local. The men of the village, supplemented by paid labour from further down the mountain, turned out each day to carry blocks, build walls, and lay the roof. When the school was completed, it was very much a local effort.

Working on the new school

Though the funding and much of the direction came from outside agencies, the work was done by the fathers and brothers of the children who would make use of it. They knew what they were building and for whom. They knew that the school would bring advantages and opportunities to their young children.

Happy Nepalese Workers

Is it any surprise that these men are happy in their work? Volunteers in Nepal often work in local schools just like this one. They teach the children about the West, open their eyes to opportunities that they had never contemplated, and bring an outside perspective to once insular communities.

Though the finished school lacks much of the polish of schools in the west, it serves the same purpose.

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