A brighter future for children and young people in Darjeeling

Orphanage Redevelopment

Project Overview

The Orphanage Redevelopment Project has been split into two distinct phases; Phase 1 was successfully completed on 4 November 2014 providing accommodation for up to 60 boys. Phase 2 is centred around building the same standard accommodation for up to 60 girls. It will also provide much needed social space for all the children, as well as staff accommodation and offices.

Boy's Orphanage


Who is managing the project?

  • Pema Bhante: Project Commissioner, Monk in charge of the orphanages, and Secretary of the Kripasaran Buddhist Mission
  • Raghavan Radhakriskhnan: Project Architect, RJA Design, Delhi
  • Ranjeeta Jaiswal: Director, Sasheesh Prasad Design Studio, Darjeeling
  • Ramesh Rasailly: Site Manager, Sasheesh Prasad Design Studio, Darjeeling
  • Tejendra Brahmin: Structural engineer
  • Major Pasang Wangdi: DCT Trustee (Darjeeling resident)
  • Marilyn Adams: DCT Trustee (UK resident)
  • Hugh Heron: DCT Trustee (UK resident)

Phase 1: The highs & lows of building in the Himalayas

Building in the foothills of the Himalayas comes with its fair share of problems. The site is stepped into the mountainside which poses some pretty serious logistical issues, and as early excavation work unveiled, it was potted with massive boulders that had to be dug out by hand. Having to plan the build programme around monsoon season, as well as a series of strikes that took the entire workforce off site for several months, were just a couple of the obstacles that had to be overcome. But after over two and a half years of phenomenally hard work by everyone involved, we proudly watched 60 boys file into their new home, and all that stress slipped away into nothingness. All that remained was a beautiful building a true symbol of opportunity and 60 fantastically wide smiles.

How much did Phase 1 cost?

The total project cost was £100,046. This figures includes project management, structural engineering and architect fees.

£23,100 of the total cost comprised of fitting out costs (£385 per boy).

DCT contributed £67,546 (67.5%), with Pema Bhante raising the balance of £32,500 (32.5%).

Phase 2: The girls’ current home

Here are just a few photos illustrating the standard of accommodation that the girls currently live in. The walls and floors suffer from damp ingress due to poor waterproofing, their only outside space faces and extremely congested and polluted road and is dominated by two large water tanks, and their bedroom is nothing more than a crawl space above the dining room. Having to sleep so close together, coupled with poor sanitary conditions in general, leads to the perennial spread of scabies.

What works are included in Phase 2?

1. Girls’ accommodation:

  • Beds for 60 girls arranged over two floors in a dormitory setup (30 bunk beds)
  • Shared toilets and showers adjoining the dormitories
  • Private sitting out areas on adjoining balconies

2. Staff accommodation:

  • Sleeping accommodation for 4 female staff plus a shared bathroom, clothes drying area and sitting out area
  • Sleeping accommodation for 4 male staff plus a shared bathroom, clothes drying area and sitting out area

3. Dining room/ multi purpose space for use by all children

4. Accommodation for Pema Bhante:

  • Bedroom, dining/living room, bathroom and a small kitchen area

5. Other accommodation:

  •  Kitchen
  • Prayer hall
  • Office / meeting room
  • Outside play space

How much will Phase 2 cost?

We are working to a budget of £200,000 to complete the project, including furniture and fittings £ 112,000 of that cost is for the structural works.


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