Nepal Earthquake Relief

April 2015 – April 2024
Last Updated: May 2024

All Hands and Hearts’ (AHAH) earthquake relief work in Nepal began in 2015 after two devastating earthquakes struck the country. AHAH was on the ground assisting affected regions just days after the first earthquake hit. Since then, we have supported rural communities’ long-term educational needs across Nepal, impacting 29 schools and one community health center. The team has just completed its work in Hariharpurgadhi, restoring the 29th school in the country, Shree Bhanubhakta Secondary School.

Find the details about volunteering on AHAH’s school rebuild program here.


Our Work

AHAH continued its earthquake relief work in Nepal by completing the reconstruction of another school in April 2024. The Shree Bhanubhakta Secondary School, damaged by the 2015 earthquakes, serves over 250 students and 13 teachers. Students were being taught in undersized Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS), established as a provisional measure after the earthquake. With inadequate space, classes were additionally taught in damaged and unsafe school buildings.

Current Activities

AHAH has officially completed work at Shree Bhanubhakta Secondary School and handed it over to the community, marking the completion of our 29th school impacted in Nepal. Utilizing earthquake-resilient and environmentally sustainable compressed stabilized earth brick technology, AHAH has worked alongside the local community to provide two new school buildings consisting of six classrooms, offering a safe and comfortable learning environment for over 250 students and 13 teachers.

AHAH’s on-the-ground presence in Nepal meant going beyond the school rebuild, to actively work on new solutions in response to the local community’s needs. While addressing water scarcity challenges, the team went beyond the initial scope of work to install a new water well and biosand filtration system to provide year-round water security for the school, in collaboration with our local partner Relief Nepal.

Our staff and volunteers concluded trainings in Child Protection, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), which took place throughout the program in partnership with Relief Nepal. DRR training informed the community on construction methods and best practices to continue maintenance and administration for the new disaster-resilient school and facilities. We also continued our Female Mason Training Project, introduced in 2017, to train local women in resilient construction skills to expand their economic resources and provide social and economic empowerment. AHAH hopes to continue our presence in Nepal until there is no further need for our support.

Disaster Profile

On April 25, 2015, a 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal near the capital city of Kathmandu; the worst in more than 80 years. Sadly, over 9,000 people lost their lives, a further 23,000 were injured and there was major destruction of homes and infrastructure. The earthquake resulted in more than 5,000 schools being damaged or completely destroyed. On May 12, 2015, a second 7.3 earthquake struck the country, causing further devastation and loss of lives.

Female Mason Training: Livelihoods, Gender Equality and Disaster Risk Reduction

All Hands and Hearts (AHAH) piloted the Female Mason Training Program in 2017, with the goal of training Nepali women in earthquake-resilient construction skills as a means of improving their economic situation.

The program has since provided social and economic empowerment while playing an important role in rebuilding a more resilient Nepal. Professional Nepali masons are in charge of teaching disaster-resilient building methods to the women, and trainees work in rural communities to rebuild primary and secondary schools or clinics. Our in-country partner assists graduates in obtaining mason certification, paving the way for them to secure fairly paid employment in the future. Through their subsequent jobs, program graduates then become agents for disseminating disaster-resilient construction methods in the region.

Sita, a program trainee, told us that since working with AHAH, she feels more financially secure and organized in her life. The Female Mason Training Program offered the opportunity to gain skills and access to education in a realm usually reserved for men. After the devastating impact of the 2015 earthquakes in her country, Sita recognized the significance of teamwork and the idea of “many hands making light work”. Additionally, Sita noted the benefits earned from women partaking in work traditionally done by men – when women and men work alongside each other “even the most difficult work becomes manageable”.

Listen to Sita’s story below.

Program History

In February 2016, our work in Nepal began in the Nuwakot district and involved initial response projects to support families and communities on the road to recovery, such as demolition of unsafe structures, rubble removal and the building of transitional housing for vulnerable, disaster-affected households. In total, our response work impacted 113 households. In addition to response work, we began our school rebuild program. We rebuilt four schools in the Nuwakot district: Kalyani Devi Higher Secondary School, Jalpa Yuwa Primary School, Prithvi Secondary School, Bachchhala Secondary School, impacting nearly 1,000 students.
Working alongside our Nuwakot Program, in October 2016, we rebuilt Shree Bachchhala Devi School. In the Sindhupalchowk district, the school was reduced from 15 operational rooms to rubble after the 2015 earthquakes. Our work at Shree Bachchhala Devi School impacted over 300 students.
In January 2017, we returned to Nepal and rebuilt the Shree Chamuna Basic School, the Shree Kakaling Harisiddhi Secondary School and provided vital repairs to the Shree Janakalyan Basic School. Upon completion in July 2017, the program’s work impacted 750 students and their teachers across the Sindhupalchok district.
Starting in September 2017, our team saw the rebuilding of four schools in Haibung, including the Kalikasaran Basic School, Nibugaun Basic School, Dhauleshwori Basic School, and Jalpa Devi Secondary School. Additionally, we rebuilt WASH facilities at the Manakamana Basic School, whose students and teachers previously did not have access to safe water. The four completed schools and WASH facilities were returned to the communities by April 2018.
In November 2018, we continued recovery efforts in the Sindhuli district, rebuilding three schools, Shree Ma Vi, Sarswati and Jana Jagriti as well as rebuilding the WASH facilities at Shree Uccha Ma Vi School.
In October 2019, our recovery efforts in Nepal continued, rebuilding Shree Manakamana Basic School in the Makwanpur Municipality. This work impacted over 140 students and their teachers in the village of Kusumtar, providing them with a safe space to learn and play. Additionally, the community received WASH facilities, including a rain harvesting system and water tanks, giving them clean and safe water and providing the formerly water-insecure community access to two 20,000-liter water tanks.

Alongside our program in Makwanpur, we launched a program in Marin in November 2019, rebuilding two schools, Shree Thakureshwor Ni Ma Vi and Shree Janakalyan Ni Ma Vi. At both schools, our work included rebuilding disaster-resilient classrooms, providing playgrounds and installing WASH facilities consisting of toilet blocks and hand-washing stations. This program impacted over 350 Marin Rural Municipality, Sindhuli District students. The program was suspended on March 12, 2020, after WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In January 2021, after nearly ten months, we resumed the paused work and handed the schools back to the communities by April 2021.

All Hands and Hearts returned to Nepal in December 2022, continuing our earthquake relief work to complete the rebuild of the Shree Janaprabhat Ni Ma Vi School in May 2023. We removed damaged structures, raised three new buildings with nine classrooms, added a water filtration system and designed a playground where over 220 students from early childhood to grade eight currently learn and play.

On November 3, 2023, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck the Karnali Province in western Nepal, causing devastating damage across the region, most notably at the epicenter of the quake, Jarjarkot District.

The team responded quickly, providing essential disaster relief efforts from November until January 2024. During this time, the team built new Temporary Learning Spaces, each containing two classrooms where 81 students from the Shree Bheri Primary School and 135 students from Dipendra Primary School can safely learn until permanent buildings are constructed. Staff and volunteers also as

Response Projects

Kathmandu, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchok, April 2015
72 hours after the first earthquake struck in April 2015, we were on the ground assisting affected communities. We launched two response programs, one in Kathmandu and the other in Sindhupalchok. Across both projects, a total of 104 debris sites were cleared and 13 damaged homes were safely brought down. We built 50 transitional homes in Melamchi (Sindhupalchowk), 15 transitional homes in Kagati (Nuwakot) and 35 transitional homes in Hulchowk (Kathmandu) addressing the short-term needs of disaster affected households. 12 community shelters were built to provide safe structures for communities to come together and 21 disaster-resilient homes were rebuilt. In response to the devastation of many schools in the area, 23 temporary learning centers were built and repaired in order to restart educational activities.

Happy Hearts Fund School Rebuilds

Prior to the merger of Happy Hearts Funds, USA (HHF) to All Hands and Hearts, HHF rebuilt four schools in Nepal in the Nuwakot District: Shree Mahendra Higher Secondary School, Shree Birendra Secondary School, Shree Niranjana Higher Secondary School and Shree Mahendra Secondary School. Across the four school rebuilds, 47 classrooms were constructed and this work impacted a total of 1,536 students.

Volunteer Days
Schools Completed
Children Back To School

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