Aale School, Nepal
UWS Aale School was built in the Madi Municipality, population 1300. The community is predominately Gurung and Tamang people that are both indeginous. Before the arrival of UWS, students had to walk over two hours to a government school that was not reliable. Four years earlier, a local school closed that was struggling to operate. Before the arrival of UWS Aale, 62% of all children were not attending school.
Construction of UWS Aale School commenced in early 2019. Initial land preparation and foundation laying took place in February. Wall construction, plastering and roofing proceeded quickly. UWS uses locally sourced wood and brick to construct our schools, ensuring cost-efficiency and supporting local economies. A toilet block pit was also constructed, with latrine installation and water source construction. These modern conveniences allow boys, and especially girls in adolescence feel safe and comfortable attending school.
The UWS construction team was supported by pro-bono (free) labour from the Aale community, as agreed on initial community visits. This gives the community a sense of ownership and encourages local engagement. The school was opened on time at the start of the new Nepali academic year in April, giving the children of the Aale community the opportunity to attend school for the first time.
Our school construction projects have been planned with safety as a priority. In light of the 2015 earthquake, all of our schools in Nepal are designed to be earthquake resistant. Schools are constructed as reinforced cement concrete framed buildings, with brick walls and galvanised steel rod
Staff and students will also be trained in emergency procedures. Regular earthquake drills will take place to ensure students are prepared in the event of one.
Teacher recruitment of two individuals from the local community were hired. Employing local teachers encourages community engagement, ensures our education provision is culturally appropriate and provides local job opportunities. The government also provides teachers to work at the school, who have been formally trained in delivering the national curriculum and preparing students for government exams. All of these teachers have undergone intensive training to ensure they are delivering a high quality education from the outset.
When construction was complete, the school was resourced with furniture, including desks, benches and whiteboards. The school was resourced with learning aids, including textbooks and paper. The classrooms were painted to create a child-centric learning environment.
In November 2020, the Nepalese government announced that all schools in Nepal could reopen if safety measures were in place and there were no cases of Covid-19 in the community.
The children at UWS Aale were very excited to return to school! 90% of the students enrolled returned to school on the 13th of December. Regular lessons took place, following safety guidelines. This is very encouraging, and represents the clear desire of the families to see their children continue with their education, despite all the surrounding challenges the Covid-19 pandemic brought.
Moreover, an ‘At Risk’ student support group has been formed to provide individualized support for a few students who have been identified as being at greater risk of dropping out, due to the effects of the pandemic on their families, so that they too can stay in school.
When the Delta Variant of Covid 19 forced Nepal’s schools to close yet again in May 2021, students continued to learn and engage in school with UWS’s remote learning, FM radio broadcasts. Nothing can stop these students from receiving the education they value so much. As of this writing, May 2022, Aale School students are back in class, playing with their friends and learning.
Lastly, with support of the local government, a lunch facility program has been initiated to provide free lunch to all students at UWS Aale, which has encouraged even more children to attend school regularly.