A team of 18 willing SCB volunteers took part in the buildOn nonprofit organization Trek to Nepal. The team worked shoulder to shoulder with the community of Shivnagar to commence building a much-needed new school block.

More than 4 million people in Nepal are living below the poverty line of $1.90 a day, and more than 11 million people over the age of 15 – 40 percent of the total population – are illiterate. buildOn works closely with rural communities across Nepal to ensure they have access to quality classrooms and education. Discrimination based on gender and the caste system have kept far too many children and adults in Nepal from ever attending school. Currently, more girls (13 percent) are out of school than boys (7.2 percent).

Nepal’s small villages and remote communities such as Shivnagar often lack access to quality school structures and classrooms, and a disproportionately large number of those living in poverty are women. The village of Shivnagar is a rural community of approximately 1,200 people located in the Kanchanpur region. Most community members are subsistence farmers who rear livestock and grow rice, wheat and corn.

Shree Ganesh Basic School, Shivnagar’s primary school, is a developing institution that would like to serve students in the first through fifth grades. Expansion has been hindered because of the school’s shortage of permanent classrooms and the state of the classrooms on the school’s campus. With several classrooms in an already irreparable state and others constructed with inadequate materials, Shree Ganesh Basic School’s administrators and parents of students are looking for ways to facilitate a more conducive environment for learning and expansion. With the next nearest proper school a 5 km walk including a river crossing made difficult by monsoon rains, the community members of Shivnagar were left with few options for their children.

Through SCB’s partnership, buildOn can provide the village of Shivnagar with a proper school block and latrines. Community leaders and buildOn staff members also work together closely to increase the number of students enrolled in this school.

SCB’s team visit Shee Betal Basic School and all are welcomed with open arms as they meet pupils, teachers and parents, with a glimpse of what life will look like once the school they are here to build takes shape.

On arrival in Shivnagar, the team is welcomed by locals in the traditional way with the Nepali Tika, a red dot on the forehead considered an auspicious blessing for good fortune and a happy and healthy long life. SCB colleagues eagerly join in the music and dancing which accompany the ‘Breaking the Ground’ ceremony.

After a night spent in the homes of local villagers, the new day dawns and our team gathers for a yoga awakening session. The warm-up and flexibility exercises will prove key as there is hard work to be done to lay the groundwork to construct the primary school.

Building Hope in Shivnagar, Nepal

SCB’s team members share a range of experiences of their trip to Shivnagar in southwest Nepal to build a school with the nonprofit buildOn. Tasks taken on by SCB’s volunteers include digging and creating metal beams to lay the foundations for the school, mixing the concrete and placing rocks for a solid construction. Colleagues describe how they found the work fun as the locals are so friendly and engaging. The team talk about the experience of staying with host families, appreciating the kindness of the locals and even learning a few words of Nepali.

Stanley’s Story

Stanley Okpara says he appreciates being in Nepal, his second buildOn mission. He describes joining a previous SCB/buildOn trip to Malawi as a pivotal moment for him. He had signed up in order to visit a new place, but got far more out of the experience than expected, as it made him appreciate the impact of education. He talks about how education played a key role in his own life as a ‘way out’ of poverty, emigrating from a lesser developed country to a job in Switzerland as SCB’s IT Engineer.

Carbon Neutral Trek

SCB has been carbon neutral since 2021 and Oriane Minger, our Carbon Finance Manager helps us stay that way. She describes how she is personally involved in the calculation of the emissions related to the flights required to get colleagues out to Nepal from SCB’s 5 global offices. The emissions are being offset by funding climate projects. The school SCB is helping to build in Nepal is the fourth to date. The company pre-finances carbon projects which support communities in least developed countries through projects for solar panels, clean cookstoves and safe water filters. Oriane stresses the need for more companies to act as there is no excuse for inaction in the face of climate change.

Holi Festival

The SCB and buildOn team celebrate their hard work building a school in Nepal with the Holi Festival, a riot of color, music and dancing. All who took part in the construction work join together, celebrate cultural ties