The New Devisthan Primary School
On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rattled Nepal. The epicenter was only 13 miles/22 kilometers from The Devisthan Primary School. The community was devastated: 98% of the buildings were destroyed, including Devisthan, and many families moved away from the village. We quickly built temporary shelters and classes resumed.
But the students that remained needed a proper school, so with the support of our donors and The Nepalese Society Texas, The New Devisthan Primary School was completed in January 2017. It is a smaller school for a smaller student body, but is earthquake resistant and will serve as a foundation for a larger school when the community recovers.
Sunchaya Primary School
The Sunchaya Primary School was a 115 K-5 students with only a small two-room school and a makeshift barn, hardly a proper learning environment. GCE Nepal Country Director Tanka Kapri knew the plight of this school and, as with all GCE’s schools, we knew the School Management Committee was up to the task of properly operating the school. They just needed the capital to build it – an investment right up GCE’s alley.
Enter Eric & Gill Schwarz, GCE supporters since our first school in 2005. Eric & Gill wanted to do something major and meaningful with their charitable giving and generously funded the construction of a beautiful primary school. They support GCE because they know our projects are done efficiently, cost effectively, and most importantly, have real and worthwhile impact. Construction on the school was completed in June 2014.
Patalini Primary School
Unlike our GCE’s other schools, The Patalini Primary School was already an open and functioning school with a current Grade K-7 enrollment of approximately 350 students. But some classes met under a tree, others in a tin shed and other classrooms were small and dark.
GCE Founder Don Wilks visited the community in July 2012 and found a dedicated and determined group of parents determined to build a proper school for their children. This school was well managed, had good teachers, and an active PTA – all key components of a successful school.
Then GCE built a proper school: a seven-room building that includes a Library and Computer Lab. The Patalini Primary School meets GCE’s requirements as an investment that yields educated children. Construction costs on this project were US$ 46,000 and were completed in the spring of 2013. See photos of Don Wilks’ May 2013, visit to attend the Opening Ceremony.
See photos of Don Wilks’ May 2013, visit to attend the Opening Ceremony:
Baladevi Secondary School
On the 2007 field visit to Khari, Country Director Tanka Kapri showed Founder Don Wilks a lovely spot by the Budhi Gandaki River that he envisioned as an ideal spot for a secondary school. In early 2008, plans were drawn, budgets were prepared and revised, and GCE’s founders started to raise the approximately US $30,000 needed to build the school. Then, in the fall of 2008 as the envelopes were being addressed, the worldwide economy began to spin out of control.
GCE would face more obstacles in building this school. A huge flood south of Kathmandu (hundreds of miles away) caused a dramatic increase in the demand for raw materials like cement and steel and prices skyrocketed. The Nepali government had its own issues and reneged on two-thirds of their modest funding commitment. But families, friends, donors to The Devisthan Primary School generously contributed and got us well on our way. The momentum built. We told our story to whoever would listen and in the end raised $35,251, made up the shortfalls, and Tanka built a very fine school.
Though originally built to serve as a secondary school, when so many parents brought their primary school-aged students to the school’s first registration, the School Committee quickly met and decided that they could not turn away so many young children who had no access to primary school. Their decision – with GCE’s blessing – was to open as a Grade 1-6 school and add a grade each year until The Baladevi School is now the area’s only K-10 school. Before the Baladevi School was built, children who had the opportunity to attend high school did so with a very long walk, or stayed with family in Kathmandu or Dhadingbesi.
The Baladevi School opened in September 2009 and almost immediately had an enrollment that exceeded the building’s capacity. The School Management Committee secured an old school building up the hill (“Baladevi Upper”) for Grades K-3, but it is not much of a facility except a roof over the children’s heads. “Baladevi Lower” is the GCE building and currently holds Grades 4-10 (adding one grade each school year until Baladevi becomes a K-12 school).
Don’s field visit in September 2010 confirmed the need to build the second floor and construction commenced in the fall of 2011. The school has brought most of the Baladevi Upper Grade K-3 children to Baladevi Lower. The school’s enrollment has grown from 250 students to approximately 350. The project was completed in May 2012 right on the budget of US$ 41,000.
The Original Devisthan School 2005/06
The Devisthan Primary School was Tanka’s original “Pay it Forward” idea in 2005 that got this whole ball rolling. As a child, Tanka was the only one of his eight siblings that his father could afford spare all day while he took the long walk to the nearest school. Tanka wanted to fix this problem of proximity for the citizens of Khari.
The site for the school was literally cut out of the side of a mountain on land donated by the Forestry Ministry. The land was cut by hand – no bulldozers, no jack-hammers, nothing powered in any way: an amazing feat of human engineering. So much dirt was moved, approximately twelve feet of new land was created-trees had to be planted to prevent erosion. See the amazing construction photos.
Devisthan opened in January, 2006 and forever changed the children and community of Khari, Nepal. The school consists of six classrooms, a library, and an office. The school was destroyed in the 2015 earthquakes. See the amazing construction photos on our Facebook page: