You’re viewing a version of this story optimized for slow connections. To see the full story click here.

THE LUCKY SCHOOL

clean water in Nepal

Story by charity: water January 14th, 2014

A fairytale view

Balkumari Primary School has a fairytale view. It sits high up in the Himalayas, just two hours outside of Kathmandu, Nepal. But despite its gorgeous setting, the school grounds are modest, the chalkboards are frayed, and there’s no running water. Still, each day, the classrooms are packed with kids in bright blue uniforms, eager to learn.

JSS_6755-1.jpg

What are these photos about?

JSS_6715-Edit.jpg
JSS_6345.jpg

There are hundreds of schools just like this one in Nepal, and many have been waiting decades for clean water. But in December 2012, the students at Balkumari Primary School got lucky.

JSS_6917.jpg
JSS_6994.jpg

"what should we do with the extra FUNDs?"

Earlier that year, charity: water had funded a group of water projects in another region of Nepal through our local partner, NEWAH (Nepal Water for Health). The projects came in under budget, and NEWAH’s Director, Umesh Pandey, let us know about the extra funds.

JS_20130621_7292.jpg

Instead of returning the money, we asked NEWAH’s staff to use it for a water project that they were passionate about. The teachers at Balkumari had been writing NEWAH for years, asking for clean water. This time, NEWAH could finally say yes.

JSS_6699-Edit.jpg

THE SCHOOL’S ONLY WATER SOURCE WAS A MOUNTAIN STREAM

The school’s existing water source was a small cave 20 minutes away. Inside, a tiny stream trickled through the rocky walls. Each day when the kids got thirsty, they’d walk to the cave, climb inside, cup their hands beneath the stream and drink. This cave wasn’t used by the students alone. Animals wandering down this path would also stop here to drink.

JSS_66100.jpg
JSS_64800.jpg

Last year, the school was forced to shut down for an entire month because the stream dried up. Kids were sent home to wait until the rains came again.

JSS_6184-Edit.jpg

the team WENT straight to work

NEWAH's staff knew that Balkumari’s situation was serious. With the extra charity: water funds, they went straight to work planning a system of pipes and water tanks that would bring water to the school's doorstep.

JS_20130621_7332.jpg
JS_20130621_7343.jpg
JS_20130621_7361.jpg

They found a reliable source farther up the mountain and built two cement holding tanks. Then, they used steel pipes to carry water down to six new tap stands below. There was even enough water to connect a small village nearby.

JSS_6944.jpg

clean water changed everything

For the kids and teachers here, water has changed everything. With taps right outside the classroom, the students can forget about walking to the cave. They have clean water, and there’s plenty of it to go around. Simple things like washing hands, something that was impossible before, is now a part of their daily routine.

JSS_6923.jpg
JSS_6928.jpg
JSS_6937.jpg
JSS_6968.jpg
JSS_6989.jpg

But perhaps the most noticeable benefit to the kids at Balkumari, is that recess is no longer about walking 20 minutes for a drink of water-- now it's a time to play with friends.

JSS_7014.jpg

What are these photos about?

JSS_6827-Edit.jpg

What are these photos about?

JSS_7125-Edit.jpg
JSS_7139-Edit.jpg
JSS_7133-Edit.jpg
Footnote: Photos by Jeremy Snell. Story by charity: water
Pokhara, Nepal
Donate & Give Clean Water