Resilient Schools & Youth

Every year, natural disasters disrupt children’s education in poor countries. The direct damage injures students and destroys poorly-constructed school buildings. In the aftermath, teaching and learning suffer. Children who lose their school may not be able to finish their studies.


The promise of an education is vital for every child. That’s why we work with youth, educators, and builders to make schools safer from disasters.




"When an earthquake destroys schools, it takes away the children’s future —and with it, the future of the country itself. In the 1988 Nepal earthquake, the destruction of 14,000 classrooms was significant, but more so was the fact that 300,000 children couldn’t go to school for years afterwards."

Madhab Mathema

Former Senior Human Settlements Advisor, United Nations Center for Human Settlements (HABITAT)



Timoun An Aksyon (Kids in Action)

Cap-Haitien, Haiti

In their own voice and style, youth share new knowledge about extreme earthquake and coastal risks and how to take action for disaster resilience. 

Producing Affordable Earthquake Desks


Locally made Earthquake Desks are affordable, withstand heavy loads, and provide safer cover in schools that are not yet earthquake resistant.

Disaster Scenarios for Risk-Informed Planning

West Nepal

Scenarios of a plausible earthquake quantify impacts, including more than 50% of schools damaged, and guide communities to reduce extreme risk before a disaster.

School Earthquake and Landslide Vulnerabilities

Aizawl, India

A screening study of earthquake vulnerabilities and landslide hazards in Aizawl schools showed widespread risks to students, particularly from landslides and in seismically vulnerable private schools.

National Action Plans for School and Hospital Earthquake Safety

India, Bhutan

These consensus-based action plans, which include ways to prepare for and reduce risk in schools and health facilities, were adopted into national policy.


"I am the guardian of 1,000 children in a fifty-year old, two-story brick school that has not, unfortunately, been adequately maintained. Ten years ago, a distant, moderate earthquake produced a crack in my classroom’s wall so large that my students and I could see the garden outside. Since then, I have known what would happen to my school—and my children—in a large earthquake, unless we prepare."

Sanu Kumari Nepal

Director, Kanya Mandir Secondary School, Kathmandu, Nepal.




"I’ve stood in Armenia on a spot where a school had stood just a week before—and 600 children’s lives were lost. This experience drove home the need to blend the human dimension with the traditional economic view. In working with GHI, I have the opportunity to save tens of thousands of lives."

L. Thomas Tobin

Former Executive Director, California Seismic Safety Commission



Non-structural Risk Reduction Handbook for Schools

This guide explains how to prepare schools before an earthquake, to avoid significant injuries or blocked exits that result when unsecured objects fall during shaking.

School Earthquake Safety and Preparedness – Course Materials developed for India

Identifying Earthquake-Vulnerable Schools and Setting Priorities to Make Them Safe

School Earthquake and Tsunami Safety in Asia-Pacific Economies:

Reducing Risk and Improving Preparedness

A policy framework and ways to keep students out of harm’s way who live in earthquake, tsunami, and volcano zones in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries.

Investing in Quito’s Future

A description of the Quito, Ecuador school earthquake safety project, which prioritized high risk school buildings and presented solutions to strengthen them.

Keeping Schools Safe in Earthquakes

A process for nations to develop an effective school earthquake safety program, prepared for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).