Even when she talks about surviving the earthquake, Sarita's infectious smile remains.
Sarita was enjoying lunch with her family when the earthquake hit the district of Gorkha, causing untold devastation in Nepal.
"When I think about it, I cannot believe all that happened in one day,” Sarita said. “It feels like a movie—one minute I was eating lunch with my family, the next I was running away from my own house.”
She recalls the immediate days after the earthquake as emotionally and physically tiring. Even though she was surrounded by her family, Sarita had never been as scared as she was on that day.
This was the biggest earthquake to strike Nepal in 80 years. It was Saturday 25 April 2015 at 11:56am when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit. The quake killed more than 8,500 people, and injured more than 17,000.
Over 7,000 schools were damaged or destroyed by the earthquakes, leaving children like Sarita without a school.
You can imagine her sinking feeling as she saw her future lying among the splintered wood and crushed stone. How would she go to school? What would she do for a livelihood? How could she help her community?
Education is so critical to a community’s long-term recovery. That’s why, after the initial emergency response, Save the Children made getting kids back into schools a priority.
In the past year since the quake, thanks to our donors, Save the Children has responded to children’s urgent education needs by constructing 586 Temporary Learning Centres, where kids can keep learning while their new schools are being built.
Made from bamboo and tin, they are highly earthquake-resistant compared to buildings made of brick and clay. Before the TLC was built in Sarita’s district, students had to sit on hard ground under a tarp, which didn’t protect them from heavy rains.
Now, Sarita goes to a TLC, where she’s not only protected from the elements but gets a great deal of tender loving care. The teachers provide psychosocial support to students to minimise trauma. They use art therapy to help children express their feelings in a joyful environment.
The memories of dark panic as Sarita desperately fled her home on wobbling legs are still fresh for Sarita, but she feels safe and warm in the TLC. Learning at a TLC makes Sarita feel so much more at ease and able to focus on her studies. She also loves being in a classroom, where she gets to be with her friends and play games.