The outpouring of generosity and concern for the people of Nepal after the April 25th 7.8 earthquake has truly been inspirational. Many people have benefited from the donations and the warm wishes, and we are grateful for all of them. This blog is a brief overview of the amazing work that CHOICE staff and volunteers have accomplished since the earthquake that destroyed so much of Nepal. For a more detailed update, join us at our Journeys Gala on September 25 at the Rail Event Center to meet Bishnu Adhikari, Nepal In-Country Director, and hear a personal account of the earthquake and the rebuilding to date.
In May, CHOICE Humanitarian staff and volunteers visited Lamjung and Gorkha Districts to assess damage and the needs in those areas. Housing and schools were determined to be the biggest needs, so CHOICE Humanitarian ordered schoolroom size tents from China to be used as temporary schools. We also worked with the Ministers of Finance and Education to secure tax exempt status on import fees of the tents. This saved CHOICE Humanitarian $48.000 US dollars.
However, the tents didn’t arrive until July, and the Nepali government wanted schools operational by early June, so the construction of temporary schools made from bamboo began immediately. On Wednesday, May 27th, Bishnu, and his team, along with many volunteers, left for Gorkha to start building temporary bamboo classrooms.
They started out by salvaging any items and materials that could be used for the new classroom and then they got to work. The volunteers worked tirelessly. When one group got tired, another group would take over to keep the work going. The Laliguras Woman’s Group of Harmi Village, local leaders, the police, and the army all came to help!
The group joyously met their deadline. Everybody then piled into the classrooms to hear an educational earthquake seminar given by Bishnu. As a thank you, the village honored CHOICE staff and volunteers by providing flower garlands, bouquets and a blessing tika to the forehead.
In the village of Harmi, Gorkha 19 classrooms needed to be rebuilt to accommodate elementary and middle school children. Local villagers, including community and school district leaders, decided that every family in the village would bring one piece of bamboo to the school for building material. This supplied 500 pieces of bamboo to the project. CHOICE then brought the remainder of the construction materials, tools, and volunteers. Now the 550 children in that area can continue their education.
In July, 348 tents arrived from China, so work shifted from building temporary bamboo schools to assembling the tents. They are for use in eight districts – Lamjung, Gorkha, Ramechhap, Dolahka, Dhading, Sindepalchowk, Kavre, and Newarkot. Two hundred have already been distributed and are being used as classrooms. The remaining 148 tents will be distributed by the end of August.
The tents are expected to be used for two to three years. The Nepali government will work with CHOICE on creating reconstruction guidelines for permanent schools. At that point, CHOICE will build one sample school in each of the eight districts and will partner the Lamjung Development Foundation to provide skilled tradesman training for the locals of each district. The trades will include masonry, electrician, plumbing, carpentry, and welding. The graduates of this program will become the trainers of their designated trade in their local district. This new program will create new and solid career opportunities for these tradesmen and enable them remain employed in their village.
CHOICE will continue to partner with local government officials, other NGOs, and private sector key stakeholders willing to leverage their funds with the labor, funds, and materials mobilized by the village leaders and CHOICE Humanitarian. We would like to extend a sincere thank you for the generosity of time, donations, and blessings for the wonderful people of Nepal. We hope to see you on September 25, at our Journeys Gala where you can meet Bishnu in person and receive a full update on the rebuilding of Nepal.
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Previous update from April 25th.
Previous update from April 26th.
Previous update from April 27th.
Previous update from April 28th.
Previous update from May 8th.