5 Things I Learned Building a School in Nepal

Surrounded by giant mountains, lively culture and positive spirits, building a school felt like a walk in the park. After the devastation of last year's earthquakes, the community of Phulkharka began rebuilding their school. With the help of THISWORLDEXISTS volunteers, our combined efforts made enormous progress. But there's still work to be done, which is why we're searching for people like you to make a difference in 2016. Click here for more information on this year's Nepal trips.

Here's what I learned building a school in Nepal:

1. Building Experience

Photo by Dean Chytraus @chytrausphoto

Photo by Dean Chytraus @chytrausphoto

There's no need for building skills or experience on our trips to Nepal. We don't use any power tools or even hammers and nails, all you need is the will to learn and to put into practice everything that has been taught to you, oh and some great Nepali music to dance to.

Photo by Dean Chytraus @chytrausphoto

Photo by Dean Chytraus @chytrausphoto

2. Language

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

When two groups speaking different languages come together in order to achieve a common goal, there will be a language barrier. This means zilch when the people you're working with are positive and always up for sign language! Languages are tough, but making the effort to speak their mother tongue creates a valuable connection. While our attempts to converse were received with chuckles, we are all there to learn.

Photo by Dean Chytraus @chytrausphoto

Photo by Dean Chytraus @chytrausphoto

3. Gratitude

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

Before seeing the temporary classrooms in Nepal, I never thought twice about how lucky I am to be at school - taking for granted things like air conditioning in my classroom. But when I saw the corrugated iron roofs that sheltered the wall-less classrooms in Nepal, I was astonished that they were still standing, let alone how any student could actually learn in them. This not only motivated me to work harder, but also to be grateful for the education I've received.

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4. Fulfillment

school building thisworldexists nepal adventure travel charity

Those first steps on the worksite hit me with a wave of optimism and a sense of community spirit. Confusion struck me - we're doing tiring, straining, physical labour for hours and not getting paid for it. But quickly after starting the work, I felt a huge sense of fulfillment. Whether you were a local laborer, architect or a working volunteer like me, we felt not only happy and excited with the physical building progress but also gratified knowing that we were contributing to something meaningful.

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

5. Making use of local materials

Photo by Tom Hughes @beyondlimits_media

Photo by Tom Hughes @beyondlimits_media

Using local, natural materials is a cheap and efficient way to build when you're based in a remote location and funds are low. It's easiest to use what’s right beneath our feet. The THISWORLDEXISTS team combined a mixture of dirt, water and cement to form the filling of the ‘Earth Bags’, creating the main structure of the classroom. The use of local materials gave me insight into our own consumption, turning my attention towards reusing and recycling the things around us rather than buying everything brand new.

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

Photo by Ryan Gray @ryangrayphoto

Education is the key to brighter futures. You can help disadvantaged communities like Phulkharka in 2016 by giving them the gift of education. Discover more about our Nepal trips by clicking here or email info@thisworldexists.com for more information or to confirm a position

Written by Hannah Ahmad, a THISWORLDEXISTS Volunteer