Emma McDonald, a young Melbourne woman, was in Nepal months before the devastating earthquake and now she is doing everything that can be done in her part to provide a safer and modern learning environment to a bunch of kids in Kathmandu. When completed, the new building designed by a team of six architects from Sydney, will be something of a pioneering humanitarian architecture, says the University of Melbourne student.
Emma arrived in Kathmandu towards the end of 2014 to profile aid organizations making extraordinary contributions to local communities and was also doing voluntary media work for an American non – governmental organization. That was when she learned about a school called EDUC(Education and Development of the Underprivileged Children). The school was operated only on the basis of funds collected from local family and friends.
After meeting the incredible sibling team(Keshari, Bishnu and Beena) who quitted their job to open the school in 2002, Emma admired totally admired them and ended up teaching there and has been the school’s advocate ever since.
The Brunswick West woman returned to Nepal following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake to contribute to the earthquake rehabilitation process. She was aiming to help distribute relief as well as work with students who were adjusting to life in Kathmandu after fleeing their destroyed villages. The EDUC building was damaged by the quake. However, a block of land across the previous building was available for long-term lease and thus, she wanted to construction the new building as soon as possible. She ran crowfunding campaign through a website called Chuffed raising and raised around $6000.
Earlier this year, an Australia not-for-profit organisation called Echo International Aid joined in. Echo is now managing donations for the project. All up, thanks to the support from a number of individuals and small organisations, the team now has approximately $13,000 – but they need more before the construction can begin. “For the first stage of the build (the ground floor) we need $30,000 AUD, and I am hoping to reach this target in the coming months to commence construction in December,” Ms McDonald said in an email. The building features a modular design and can be built one level at a time, she added.
The school building was designed by a team of six Sydney architects
Architects Without Frontiers got David Anderson from Sydney-based HDR Rice Daubney to design “a beautiful, safe building for EDUC”. Mr Anderson was not new to Nepal as he had been working on humanitarian architecture projects in Nepal for the past 10 years and was the perfect person for the job. What is more, he liaised with New Zealand seismic engineers to make sure it was earthquake-proof and found a local Nepali architect named Rajeeb to take part in the project too, Ms McDonald said, adding “We are now looking for some Nepali engineer/construction teams to help with the next stage of the build.”