‘I cannot focus on studying for my exams’

‘I cannot focus on studying for my exams’

“I am in the middle of my final exams for the School Leaving  Certificate. These are the most important exams. But I cannot only focus on studying. Because at home there is no water in the tap or the pond any more. Before the earthquake we had plenty. Now I have to walk far every day to fetch water. This is going to affect my exams results, I’m sure, but water is our basic need to survive.”

Photo: Nitika Shrestha

‘We used to be a well-equipped school. Now we don’t even have a library’

“Six students were with me in the library when it happened. I told  everyone to hold each other tight. ‘Don’t panic! Be calm! Pray to god  this will be over soon’, I said. I closed my eyes, I could not look. It  lasted 2.5 long minutes.

“We used to be a well-equipped school. The students were always excited to use our facilities. But now we don’t even have a library. We don’t have a computer lab. We don’t have a science lab. And it’s School Leaving exams. We are hopeful the students’ results won’t be affected by the earthquake. The teachers are working a lot. But these exams are very tough.

“The students are not allowed to enter the school. It is not safe. There are cracks everywhere. The parents asked us: ‘How can we still bring our children here? It’s not safe!’ We had trauma session with psychologists and we built temporary classrooms, right next to the ruin. And a small zinc hut that serves as a canteen.

“We have written to the government. Some ministries want to help with the finances. We have the manpower. We could start building a new school right away. Sure, it will take a few years. We just need the government  to give us the land so we can start.”

Photo: Sven Wolters