CHOICE has been working for 33 years with people who live on less than $1.25 a day helping them create their own path out of poverty. CHOICE has been working in remote villages in Nepal for over 15 years. Currently, we are working on a program called Nepal LIFE that will help Nepal to become the first developing country in the world to end extreme poverty. We are based in the Lamjung District, the epicenter of the deadly quake, where we work in 180 villages. Many of these rural areas have not been accessed for any earthquake relief. Those that have, paint a desperate picture.
CHOICE builds leaders through economic development in extremely poor areas of the world. We are a ground-up organization that develops local leadership through effective training. This capacity development produces village leaders who then identify priorities and formulate an action plan to achieve those priorities. We are NOT typically an emergency relief agency. However, it has become clear in recent weeks, that it’s possible to do short term and village driven relief providing food, shelter and warmth, within the scope of the CHOICE Model. Here’s how:
CHOICE is using funds for tarps, blankets, lentils, salt, beaten rice, noodles, cooking oil, biscuits, hand sanitizer, soap, and purification water drops. Addressing relief methodically with village leadership, without knee-jerk reaction, is turning all eyes back to what we do best – lead with local people in long-term, sustainable recovery.
Recovery: Tents Will Keep Students Dry and Focused on Their Futures
Education is a village identified primary need. Without school, these children will lose critical years of education. In 20 villages, in three districts where CHOICE has access, school buildings have been destroyed. Immediate structures are needed to resume education and to provide shelter from the impending monsoon season for 1st through 12th-grade students. Leaders in Nepal advise that tent schools will keep students dry and focused on their futures. CHOICE is coordinating with procurement and shipping expert who has located (in Shanghai) 500 4 x 6 meter durable tents for multiple classrooms in each village. On-the-ground-teams are identifying local vendors when possible, and points of import entry, when needed. The tents are scheduled to be delivered in Nepal mid-June. Villages will manage the installation and oversight of these tents. In keeping with our core objectives, these tent schools can serve as shelters, health clinics and potentially be cleaned, packed and repurposed into Village and District Emergency Management Supplies for the future. Bishnu Adhikari, CHOICE’s native director in Nepal, is hiring an education officer to audit student numbers and needs in each village in order to return children to school. These tent schools will be a pilot program that can be replicated in all affected areas.
Rebuilding: Leveraging Forward ~ Houses
Bishnu is defining a potential pilot plan for rebuilding houses. He’s exploring engineering and design, materials, leveraging, and financing. He is asking asked CHOICE for a minimum of $100,000 to be set aside for potential leveraging. His initial thought is that each home will cost approximately $5000 USD or 100,000 Nepalese rupees. With a $1000 CHOICE investment, he anticipates that this will be matched up to five times and that each future Nepalese homeowner will contribute to a financing structure.
CHOICE will continue to partner with local government officials, central government agencies, other NGOs, and private sector key stakeholders willing to leverage their funds with the funds, labor, and materials mobilized by the village leaders and CHOICE Humanitarian.
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