PATRIZIA School Dhoksan

In 2012, the PATRIZIA School Dhoksan in the Nepalese mountain village of Dhoksan opened its doors to primary school grades 1 through 5. It withstood the severe earthquake of 2015 in the South Asian landlocked state almost unscathed and even served as emergency accommodations for several families for four months. In 2018, the primary school was expanded so that children can now attend school up to eighth grade.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, almost every second adult in the South Asian country is illiterate. In order to give future generations a better future through school education, the PATRIZIA Foundation has built a primary school in Dhoksan in 2012.

“The children oftentimes need 45 minutes to go to school, but they are looking forward to it.”

Peter Helfrich, steward of the PATRIZIA School Dhoksan

Buildings for future

Seismically safe construction material with a high symbolic value

During the severe earthquake in 2015, around 4,000 schools were destroyed throughout the country. The solidly built PATRIZIA School Dhoksan survived the massive quakes comparatively unscathed and accommodated several families for four months as emergency shelter. In 2016, the windows, ceiling and floor have been renovated by the PATRIZIA Foundation. 

PATRIZIA School Dhoksan Nepal Schüler in einer Gruppe mit Lehrer
Dhoksan Nepal Lehmhaus

School extension with materials from earthquake ruins

In 2018, the PATRIZIA Foundation in cooperation with Supertecture has expanded the school to an extended primary school so that the children can now be taught up to eighth grade. Four new buildings were constructed which also house a library and a reading room.

Some of the materials used in the construction were donations from houses destroyed by the earthquake, thus symbolising the reconstruction. 

Under the leadership of Till Gröner from Supertecture, a group of architecture students from the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences planned and implemented their plan for the new buildings according to the latest state of research.

Earthquake-proof and sustainable construction

The focus was on earthquake-proof construction – using local construction methods. Each classroom is an individually constructed building using various local, traditional natural building methods such as rammed earth, bamboo, brick and natural stone.

The buildings are located at an altitude of over 2,000 meters and, in addition to the individual, creativity-enhancing architectural style, give the children an excellent view of the breathtaking Himalayan panorama.

In addition to the school director Man Bahadur, the Shila Devi School Board, an association of parents of the students, is responsible for the smooth running of the school.

Award-winning architecture

In 2020, our partner Supertecture was awarded the Hans Sauer Award 2020 “Designing Circularity in the Built Environment” for the sustainably built houses of the PATRIZIA School Dhoksan, and also with the first place in the Hans Benedikt Prize by the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences. In addition, Supertecture was nominated for the 2020 Brick Award in the “Building Outside the Box” category.

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Tales of Happiness

Nima’s journey

Long journeys may be tedious, but they are usually worth it. Like Nima’s daily trip to the PATRIZIA School Dhoksan.

The 11-year-old Nima attended the primary school for five years. Although it is the closest school for her, the girl has a 45-minute daily trip to school.

But she still enjoys it because she is looking forward to school. And because she can walk it together with her two little brothers.

With the extension of the PATRIZIA School Dhoksan, her education does not end after primary school. Nima can now get lessons there up to eighth grade and continue to walk to school together with her brothers. She feels very comfortable in the new classrooms.

Thirty tales of happiness 

For children to get to school every day in the mountainous region around Dhoksan, they have to walk for up to 45 minutes They walk there in the morning and back home in the afternoon so that they can follow the exciting lessons at PATRIZIA School Dhoksan. As well as negotiating dangerous roads and steep hills, to make the walk to school even more challenging, in the monsoon season there’s heavy rain to deal with. Six enthusiastic parents decided to work out an alternative: They organised a collection and raised €3000 to buy a school bus. The minibus has enough room to carry 20 to 30 children, thus sparing them the long daily walk to school. 

The school bus is a source of great happiness for everyone. As the children hop off the minibus at the end of their drive along the winding mountain roads, they beam with joy, before running up to their friends to start lessons together. 

To make sure the children do get to school every day, two villagers take turns to drive the bus. And their faces beam just as brightly as the children’s, if not more. The school bus initiative highlights that by working together, changes for the positive have the potential to bring a smile to many faces.