Rebuilding Trust (RT), the rehabilitation programme of CEE began in Baramulla and Kupwara, the earthquake affected districts of Jammu and Kashmir, since October 2005. RT Plan continuously aim at offering relief to the communities affected by the earthquake, providing shelter, offering trauma relief to children and continuing their school program.
Above 13,000 people were helped to cope with the harsh winter months that followed immediately after the 2005 earthquake through an interim shelter support. People were helped to resume their livelihoods thus improving the quality of life of above 300 families in 7 villages. Education was restored through open air schools popularly known as ‘Umang’. People were organized into self help groups and community based disaster management (CBDM) approach was followed. Skills of local technicians were enhanced through trainings for earthquake resistant construction.
CEE continued with its ongoing activities and initiated some new ventures during the year with highlight as follows:
Reconstruction of damaged Schools as Anandshala
CEE Himalaya entered into a MoU with J&K Directorate of School Education for the reconstruction of 10 damaged schools. Education Department allotted 5 primary schools, 3 middle schools and 2 high schools in 9 villages for reconstruction. These schools are being developed as Anandshala model schools and ‘Resource Centers’ for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) education. ‘Anandshala’ literally means ‘school of joy’ where students come willingly. These model rural schools are designed to teach sustainable ways of life. Parents and students are involved in planning, implementation and upkeep of infrastructure; school hardware facilities are help impart life skills to the students through innovative and interactive pedagogy.
CEE began construction process for 4 schools in phase I. To continue with the reconstruction of damaged schools work was resumed in all the four schools at Choolan, Rampur and Salamabad villages in April after the winter. Village construction committees (VCC) were formed in the villages to monitor and suggest on local requirements. Meetings were held regularly in all the schools with the teachers, villagers and VCC members to have their preference about the interiors, ambience and fixtures like the water points, electricity points etc. Construction was totally a participatory process with villagers keeping a constant vigil over the construction process and material. CEE made many alterations, even redid some of the work as per their suggestions for example the direction of windows and doors, leaving more open space at one end for meeting and play ground, entrance for toilet etc.
It was realized that the cost of construction had shot up tremendously after the earthquake mainly due to shortage of workforce necessary for construction. The rubble that was taken into account while calculating the construction cost was auctioned by the Department. The cost escalation was informed to Plan India, supporting this activity and after the approval CEE decided to reconstruct 6 schools instead of 10 as additional grant was not feasible. CEE raised additional funds from Give2Asia thus making it possible to complete a total of 7 schools within the available grant.
Plan India Auditors’ field visit
A field audit of RT activities supported by Plan India was done. This included the field verification of various activities implemented by CEE and the verifications of records at the field office. The team visited the Baghna and Noorkhah villages to verify the interim shelters, met the children and community to review the impact of Umang activity and visited four Anandshalas constructed under the project.