#16Days: After the Earthquake Struck Nepal, Ramjee Ensured Kids Still Had a Safe Place to Learn

Illustration by Jason Drakeford

Meet Ramjee, the principal of Rani Devi Lower Secondary School in Kathmandu. He joined the school nearly three decades ago as an English teacher and has been a strong supporter of every child’s right to an education, especially girls.

To ensure students attend class regularly, he meets regularly with their parents. He also collaborates with a group called Networking with Teachers which coordinates awareness campaigns on girls’ education, helping navigate the school admission process and advocating for parents to allow girls to continue their education.

When the April 25th earthquake struck Nepal, it damaged an entire section of his school building. The devastation outside the city was even worse: 28,572 classrooms in public and private schools were destroyed, disrupting the education of over 2 million children and youth.

Deputy Acting Administrator Manpreet Anand and colleagues assesses the stretch of damage from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. / Kashish Das Shrestha for USAID

When disaster strikes, girls and boys are especially vulnerable to child labor, human trafficking, child marriage, and gender-based violence. They need safe spaces and support to learn, play and heal.

Children start their day by singing nursery rhymes and songs in post-earthquake Nepal. / Kashish Das Shrestha for USAID

Ramjee called an emergency meeting with the school committee and Parent Teacher Association to figure out how to continue regular classes. With USAID support, they were able to build a temporary learning center to accommodate Ramjee’s students, as well as dozens of other kids from neighboring districts who fled to Kathmandu in search of safe shelter.

Learn More: https://www.usaid.gov/16-days

This post is part of USAID’s 16 Days storytelling series. Please check back tomorrow for the next installment.