Dh9m programme to help children in Nepal return to school after earthquake

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DUBAI // A Dh9 million project to help children in Nepal cope with the after effects of last year’s earthquake and get them back into education has been launched by Dubai Cares.

The three-year programme, Post-Earthquake Recovery Efforts for Education in Nepal, includes two recovery phases – one that focuses on infrastructure and learning environments, including the reconstruction and renovation of 10 schools with 115 classrooms in Nuwakot district – and the second a literacy programme for 4 to 10-year-olds in 100 schools.

“Natural disasters such as Nepal’s earthquake are in the international headlines for a few weeks, but after that the real work of rebuilding must begin,” said Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive of Dubai Cares.

“In line with our commitment to supporting education in emergencies, Dubai Cares intends to help children go back to school to minimise disruption of their education and exposure to risks of neglect, exploitation and trafficking.”

In April last year, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit the vast mountainous region between Kathmandu, the country’s capital, and the city of Pokhara.

Days later, an aftershock took the death toll to more than 8,800 people, of whom 2,300 were children. More than 875,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, as were schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure. About 1 million pupils were left without access to schools and 32,000 classrooms were destroyed, and 15,000 were damaged.

Saeed Hamdan, UAE Ambassador to Nepal, praised Dubai Cares’ contributions and said its efforts in Nepal, as well as humanitarian intervention led by the UAE, reflected the principles of the UAE leadership and people.

He added that this has helped take the UAE to the forefront of philanthropic and charity work.

Dubai Cares’ new project in Nepal, part of its Education in Emergencies strategy and in partnership with Room to Read, also aims to support the long-term response of children who experienced psychological distress following the earthquake.

Room to Read will implement its literacy programme in 100 schools, benefiting an additional 20,000 children.

This will be achieved by providing training to teachers in reading and writing instruction, library management, activities encouraging reading habits as well as provision of high-quality reading materials.