The UK is one of the worst-hit countries, with 313,000 cases till Tuesday and 43,600 fatalities, 67 of whom are Nepali residents. COVID-19 has brought everything to a halt, even though the government is trying to cautiously open up the economy.
With schools closed anyway for summer vacation, and travel restrictions still in place, the children have taken to building other monuments.
And one of them is actually right in London itself: the Big Ben. This was an easier task, given the UK-based kids’ familiarity with the monument. However, they soon realised that recreating the Big Ben in a three-dimensional space requires immaculate memory of and intimate knowledge about the structure of the tower.
Yash Rajbhandari, 8, from Basingstoke says, “I realised that the top pyramid of the Big Ben is actually darker in colour.”
The third monument was Bhaktapur’s Nyatapola, Nepal’s tallest temple. The modularity and rhythm of Nyatapola’s architecture kept the children busy and fascinated for ten days. Importantly, it introduced them to try out programming techniques in virtual reconstruction.
Pratyush Shrestha,8, has never seen the temple, but says he is happy to learn about it with his team. “It is a learning game, and I like it,” he says.
The young architects playing Guthi Minecraft Server are from all over the UK, but have never met each other. The game has also created an awareness about Nepali heritage, among the young Nepali diaspora and got them connected to their roots.
Sanyojan Shrestha says, “I like the details on the statues and walls and I didn’t know they were so big.” Nine-year-old Shaylee Dangol from Sutton learnt many new place names while doing the project.
Like others, some children who have never been to Nepal are itching to go to Nepal and see the real monuments when the lockdown is over. But for now, they plan to physically meet when travel restrictions are eased.
Watch videos here:
A new Nyatapola, Nepali Times
Turning a shrine into a temple of learning, Alisha Sijapati