Tag Archives: Team Dayā

Dhayapur, Nepal Completes Schoolhouse, Help Us Do It Again

(PHOTO: School is in session in Dhayapur, Nepal.)

Just four months after breaking ground in Dhayapur, Nepal, the local community, in conjunction with Team Dayā and its supporters, and our non-profit partner buildOn, has completed the construction of a beautiful yellow, maroon and white three-room schoolhouse. The students and teachers are already at work in the school.

On behalf of Dhayapur, buildOn and Team Dayā, we want to send a very big Dhan’yavāda (thank you in Nepali) to all our supporters. Doing this was a dream before we began the group in November 2018, and now we can point to our first successful school completion.

See photos of the completed school just below.

We hope you will continue your support of Team Dayā as we keep building change. We have scheduled two school groundbreakings in 2020 – the first in just 60 days (late April) in Malawi (East Africa) and a second in October in Guatemala (Central America).

Let’s do it again! Please consider making a contribution.

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Team Dayā Malawi Groundbreaking

Some of you might consider getting more involved or even traveling with the team to a school groundbreaking in 2020 or 2021. We are holding two information sessions at the LUMA Partner’s New York office in the coming weeks–on Wednesday, March 4th from 4pm – 6pm and a second session on Thursday, May 7th from 4pm – 6pm (please RSVP).

We hope to see you soon and thank you again for your support. And the best part – photos of the new school in Dhayapur, Nepal:

And the final weeks of construction:

Please donate to Team Dayā ( दया) to help us build primary schools in Nepal, Malawi, Guatemala and other impoverished places.

School Building Progress in Dhayapur, Nepal

When Team Dayā left Dhayapur this past October, we had successfully completed the school groundbreaking, working with the community to dig the foundation and organize various materials (stone, brick, rebar) that would be used for the school construction.

The Dhayapur community, along with skilled labor provided by our non profit partner buildOn, has made amazing progress on the three room school house and the accompanying girls and boys latrine since the October groundbreaking. Here are a few photos of the work through the first week of January.

Your donations made this happen! Please consider making a 2020 donation to Team Dayā so we can continue our school building work.

If you scroll down below this new album, you can see a few photos on what things looked like in October during the ground breaking, just 90 days ago. We expect the community will complete the school between now and the end of February or so. We’ll continue to provide updates.

-Team Dayā

PHOTO, below: Team Dayā member Jordan Mitchell at the groundbreaking ceremony in October.

PHOTO, below: The first days of activity were a lot of intense, manual labor – all the foundation was excavated by hand using hoes and shovels.

PHOTO, below: After the first week of work, the foundation was excavated and the footing and column work was underway.

The Covenant, Thumbprints, Shovels and the Future

I knew it would be remarkable. Still, nothing properly prepared me.

The six of us traveled a long way to finally arrive in the village of Dhayapur in the remote lowland Terai region of Nepal. We arrived to great celebration ahead of the school groundbreaking that would happen the next morning. The community celebration included three hours of music, dancing and speeches. And the signing of the covenant.

We had been told about the covenant signing–an agreement between our NGO partner buildOn and the community that memorializes the commitments of all parties. Community members agree to provide all the manual labor needed to build the school house, as well as equal school access for girls and boys.

Illiteracy rates are strikingly high in areas such as this. Many, especially women, are unable to sign their own name and instead use an ink pad to leave a thumb print as a signature. People line up to sign the covenant and then you see it–women leaving their thumb prints, agreeing to put their own sweat equity to build a school house that will break a cycle of illiteracy and poverty for their daughters, sons and community.

The next morning we were shoulder to shoulder with those same women, digging the foundation of the new school house.

If you are looking for evidence of hope, optimism and conviction the future can be a better place, go look in Dhayapur, Nepal.

Please consider making a donation to Team Dayā to help break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty in a community.

Winnie Yang on a Journey to Build Change

by Team Dayā member Winnie Yang

Arriving from Kathmandu at the Dhangadhi Airport, we were picked up by buildOn. After two days of immersion studies (including visiting a school built three years ago), we drove for two-hour bus ride to Dhayapur – a village one mile from the border of India.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted with garlands, music and an entire agenda of introductions, speeches from the mayor, dances, covenant signing and blessings. Since we are building a government school, the mayor of the district came to welcome us and assure his and the community’s sense of ownership to the initiative. We were then introduced to our host family (pictured with our bua).

Our days started at 6am, where the whole community would come together to practice yoga. Led by the guru, each day’s class got a little harder. By the last day, he showed us how to levitate.

Before each morning’s work, we’d get together in a circle; one member from Team Daya and one member from the community spoke briefly about what this build meant to him/ her. Before we would break, the speakers would scream ‘Ha Mi’ (‘we are’ in Nepali), while the rest of us screamed ‘buildOn’, three times – this got us revved up before the day’s work!

Each day we’d build from 8am – 1pm, when the sun became a little too intense.

Day 1 of the build we dug out the foundation. buildOn’s engineers and builders were onsite, directing us to dig varying depths. As an agricultural community, they came prepared with their own shovels and hoes.

Occasionally, we’d hide in the shade and dance (someone brought their boombox).

The next couple of days consisted of forming a lot of human chains to pass dhongas (‘stone’ in Nepali), cement and brick. We also made rebar which is harder than it looks. Rebar helps to safeguard columns and roofs against earthquakes. Previously built schools not required to have rebar risk concaved/ leaking ceilings after an earthquake or general age of the building, forcing schools to be canceled during the monsoon season.

Cultural immersion afternoons were my favorite times of the day. Here we’d have chat circles with the community to discuss gender equality, education disparity, modern day slavery and general day-to-day life. We’d reflect amongst ourselves of the purpose of our voluntourism trip, the concepts of wants versus needs, and what it means to be truly happy.

Grandma is telling us about her arranged marriage, how she came to know about it and live a boisterous life with her husband of now 65 years.

Hospitality is the cornerstone of Nepali culture. Our family welcomed us as their new son and daughter; they gave us their one-bedroom, cooked dal bhat (stewed vegetables from their farm, lentil soup over rice) that we still dream about, as we shared cultural and familial similarities every night. The two boys Niraj (11th grade) and Hitesh (8th grade) went to private schools nearby, they were getting ready to celebrate Diwali.

The dancing continued, along with speeches of gratitude and shared kinship for new friendships bonded. We’re all Facebook friends!

By the time we left, the foundation was about done, and rebar columns were up. A photo received a couple of days ago from the community shows much progress. As part of the signed covenant, the community made a promise to finish construction within 106 days from breaking ground.

Around Dhayapur