The Second and Third Disasters: Education in Post-Disaster Recovery in Rural Nepal
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Education is widely recognized as a fundamental part of recovery process after a natural disaster. Psychologically, it provides a sense of normality by reintroducing a daily routine, helps children cope with the trauma of recovery and provides hope for a better future. Schools are also used as a means for communicating vital survival information. More importantly, education restores safety mechanisms for children which often collapse in the wake of a disaster, making children extremely vulnerable to exploitation. Experience shows that children who are out of school for prolonged periods of time are increasingly less likely to resume their studies, which becomes a tremendous obstacle for battling poverty. Despite this, a mere 2.7% of the total available humanitarian aid is allocated to education. This thesis specifically looks at Nepal in its recovery state after the 2015 earthquake, which devastated numerous regions across the nation, killed over 8,700 people and destroyed or damaged 8,300 schools, leaving almost one million children without a place to study. Nearly three years after the disaster, as basic infrastructure is being rebuilt, many children remain out of school. Parents fear for their children’s safety in poorly constructed school buildings, are unable to afford the financial burdens of “free” public education or simply do not see the value in it, as the quality of public education in Nepal is incredibly low. Recognizing education as a backbone to recovery and sustainable development, this thesis explores the agency of architecture in providing incentives for parents to send their children to school throughout every phase of disaster recovery, ensuring that student attendance remains a constant. By analyzing a complex range of obstacles that are keeping children out of classrooms, the proposal becomes a dynamic link between four existing school facilities on the selected site. The design does not try to act as a school itself, rather it facilitates attendance at the schools already in place. Introduction of informal learning spaces promotes child and adult education, while a number of flexible public programs aim to integrate alternative education facilities into the daily life of the community. Together, they are designed to adapt to community’s needs as it moves through different phases of recovery. This work is rooted in two separate two-month-long visits to Nepal. Part of each trip was spent working with an international NGO (All Hands Volunteers) on six school construction projects in remote villages in Nuwakot and Sindhupalchok districts, providing opportunity for numerous conversations with local staff. This thesis is founded on these first-hand experiences and invaluable discussions.  UNESCO, “Aid to Education is Stagnating and Not Going to Countries Most in Need,” Global Education Monitoring Report, 31/REV2 (May 2017), http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002495/249568e.pdf.
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Maryia Sakharevich (2018). The Second and Third Disasters: Education in Post-Disaster Recovery in Rural Nepal. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13487