Emergency Response Program – ERP Nepal
“The design process was participatory, we were building for the villagers and we wanted to hear their story”.
|Name of project
|Emergency Response Program – ERP Nepal
|Lakuri Danda, Bhimtar & Kavre at Nepal
|Socially Responsible Architecture
|SOS Children’s’ villages International
|Year of completion
|Built up area
|Village People of Lakuridanda & Bhimtar, M/s. Himalayan Builders & Engineers, Nepal, M/s. Nepal Adarsha Nirnan Co Pvt Ltd, Nepal, M/s. Jaya Bageshwori Nirnan Seva, Nepal,
Emergency Response Program, Nepal by SOS Children’s’ villages International, was a project for the people who lost their moorings of life during the earthquake of April 2015. We were called in to rebuild homes, schools, community centres and a monastery across the three affected villages of Lakuridanda, Bhimtar & Kavre.
The villagers owned parcels of land and to identify boundaries within the mayhem was an uphill task. The government mandated an “Owner driven Construction”. The people had to find time to engage with the building program when their main priority was their agriculture and food. Training programs and a complete supply chain of materials to the remote areas was important. Inadequate basic infrastructure for material movement added to the challenges. People had to be educated in basic personal hygiene in some villages, where provision of toilets has not been the norm.
Over the two years, we saw grit and will power in the villagers. They were patient, never complaining about the situation they were in, greeting us each time with a smile and providing us endless cups of local chai and brew. We were thrown out of our comfort zone most often but never gave up. Their spirit of community living, tolerance “live and let live
The three schools were in picturesque locations – one perched atop a hill, the other on banks of a river while the third nestled at foot of the hills.
In all the three schools, the playground occupied the central spaces and the class room were aligned around it. The class rooms in turn looked out to the views enhancing light & ventilation
Spaces between class rooms are designed to allow outdoor lessons, interaction, multiuse, and for future expansion into additional class rooms if the school so desires.
Besides being child friendly, the local flavor permeates into the colorful door knobs, prayer wheels, art and sculpture. Hand imprints of the school kids adorn class room doors as a message of hope and stone from the old school brings in the historic continuum.
The school building is designed in a manner that it can also double up as a community space during non-school hours.
Community center & housing
The devastation was massive, we identified three far-flung villages where help was critical and 300 homes along with associated infrastructure were rebuilt within these. The varying terrain posed their own set of challenges in each of them.
We carried forward our learnings from having worked on the Tsunami rehabilitation. As with earlier works, we understood the importance of Community participation being paramount in the design process. In the design itself, the possibility for expansion was one of the most important consideration, while maintaining the requirements outlined by the Government and the ERP team.