April 25, 2015, marked the one-year anniversary of the massive earthquake that devastated central Nepal. Prior to the earthquake, Nepal ranked 145th out of 187 countries on the United Nation’s Human Development Index, earning it the unenviable status of “least developed country.” Burdened with this level of socioeconomic vulnerability before the country’s worst natural disaster in 80 years, Nepal is understandably making very slow gains in a very long recovery process.
The EF Nepal project has not been immune to the ongoing scarcity of fuel, supplies and reliable information that has resulted in nationwide reconstruction delays. Despite this, the team continues to push slowly forward on the Shree Jalapadevi rebuild project. Bridging the knowledge gap between the Nepali National Building Code and the Japanese National Building Code has been very challenging, requiring almost daily clarification meetings conducted in no less than four languages (English, Mandarin, Nepali and Japanese)! Yet more administrative hurdles are still ahead, not the least of which will be wrangling approval from the wary Ministry of Education for more earthquake-resilient–but completely unfamiliar–school designs.
Finally, the team recently presented “Step Into Nepal” at EF Asia headquarters in Shanghai, China. The presentation offered a glimpse of Nepali life as experienced through the eyes of our interpreter Sanoj Shakya and our driver/guide Kiran. It was a wonderful opportunity to share our passion about the project with fellow EF staff as well as provide an update on the project’s progress.