The school has a farm and a vocational focus, and the students learn at least one skill each year from among cooking, washing, cleaning, driving, farming, agro-forestry, animal husbandry, horticulture, welding, woodwork, machine work and electrical skills.
“When our children graduate from here, they should either go for further studies or be able to find a job,” says Chaudhari.
The school includes Grades 1-10 and an Early Childhood Village that focuses on self-learning through play and exploration. The older ‘plus-two’ students are still in an old bamboo school by the highway, but there are plans to bring them into the new buildings.
The school’s design allows the new classrooms to blend into the greenery, preserving the productive fruiting trees on site. Just as village life still clings to the fringes of Surkhet, the school’s program extends to the students’ families, farms and the community.
“We are a full service community school,” Doyne explains. “It is not just for the kids who study here — we want to bring the community in. This buildings belong to them, and I hope it makes them think about what they ultimately build someday. Just like Bali inspired Kopila, I hope that there will be other schools like this in Nepal, because this one existed.”
Class struggle, Prakriti Kandel
Building back cheaper and stronger, Sapana Shakya and Aman Raj Khatakho