The Ghami Solar School is made up of an educational structure and a dorm that hosts 56 kids and 6 teachers (3 from Tibet and 3 from Nepal).
The classes are taught in three languages: English, Nepali and Standard Tibetan. The academic program was adapted to suit the kids’ needs aiming to preserve and encourage a competitive education in line with the region’s environment.
Therefore, the school offers not only the basic material for the daily life and teaching, but also a library and the right tools to teach the kids music, and arts and crafts. In the classrooms, apart from the traditional subjects (such as Math, Geometry, Geography, History – from Tibet and from the world, Science, etc.), kids also learn the Standard Tibetan, English and the Tibetan culture and tradition. Moreover, there are particular classes to raise awareness of themselves, nutrition, gym, yoga and personal hygiene. The project also wants to raise awareness concerning the importance of the proper nutrition of the entire local community, not only with direct information campaigns (which is not really feasible), but with the word-of-mouth that kids themselves can spread to their families and the village once they are back home.
The school also guarantees a constant basic health care, equipped with medical and psychological professionals, fundamental to safeguard a healthy environment for the children and for the resolution of psycho-social problems that may emerge throughout school interactions.
The project was created in 2012 and the school was finally opened on June 2016. The Ghami Solar School was designed and carried out in accordance to the Mustang traditional architecture, following the earthquake proof criteria; lighting and heating are both coming from the modern solar energy technology.
The project is inspired by the principles of bio-architecture, adapting the aesthetics of the complex -in terms of shapes, materials and style- to other existing solutions in place.
The various rooms are distributed around an internal courtyard, protecting it from strong winds, creating an outdoor space for recreational activities; the wide hallways, facing the classrooms, have large windows that also have the important function of “accumulating heat” during the warmest hours of the day.
These windows, which are characteristic of the architectures of the region, are made and decorated with local materials, and the same is true also for the flooring and furniture, made of wood by local workers.
The external spaces are necessary and complementary elements to the management of the school and they are an integral part of the students’ training process. They are used as play areas for sports, as a “bio-organic” vegetable garden, as an orchard, as “permaculture” fields and as greenhouses.
With the aim of encouraging local communities to safeguard their cultural heritage, the school was built according to the local architectural style and is based on eco-sustainable principles of clean and renewable energy, in full respect of nature and its conservation. For this purpose, only partial use of reinforced concrete was envisaged, necessary to ensure the stability and anti-seismic resistance of the building and not visible to the naked eye.
The external walls are made of clay with partial covering in local stone with a facade using local construction techniques; the roofs use beams and insulation in poplar wood.
Given the lack of energy infrastructures and electricity grid (in some villages electricity is available for very few hours a day), the school is equipped with innovative energy technologies with no environmental impact.
The hallways leading to the classrooms and to the rooms, characterized by large windows, serve as “heat storage” rooms: in fact, due to the greenhouse effect, the infrared rays remain trapped in the corridors (so-called “solar space”), storing heat and then returning it during the day at the classrooms and during the night to the dorms. The adoption of this system allows a reasonable efficiency with little maintenance. Furthermore, the use of glass ensures diffused light to all the rooms of the building, guaranteeing a pleasant and constructive environment.
The Ghami Solar School was designed by the architect Maurizio Sarsini.