Since the earthquake which devastated Nepal in April 2015, many of the schools that we have previously worked with have been severely damaged and there is a huge need to rebuild and renovate these existing buildings, to allow children to be children and to learn in a safe and secure environment. We are working closely with our project partners and our project co-ordinator to find projects that are not only safe and suitable for our teams, but that will greatly benefit the local communities.
As earthquakes do pose a constant threat in this part of the world, we are going to double the project budget to allow for skilled workmen to be on site to not only assist our teams, but allow buildings to be built to the highest quality that they can be, so they can hopefully withstand any future earthquakes. Not only will this allow the schools to withstand shakes, and allow the local children to receive an education, it will also put vital money into the local economy and employ local people, many of whom have lost not only their livelihoods but their houses. The Nepal government has passed a new law stating any new school building must be up to their ‘earthquake proof’ standards. We have committed to doubling the project donation for 2016 – this is in reaction to the extra repair and renovation work that is required at the schools we work with.
In 2016 we are going to be focusing our efforts in and around the Kathmandu Valley which is one of the most affected regions and then as more areas open up again, and the FCO declares them as safe to travel, we will expand our efforts into the Langtang region. The FCO has already removed travel restrictions to the other areas we go to. Langtang is a trekking area that we will need to assess the safety of before sending our teams to trek there; we do not have any projects in the Langtang region. Our other projects are in the Pokhara and Chitwan regions; there is similar need in these areas, although less affected by the earthquake, but we do not have enough teams travelling in 2016 to send teams here, so we have decided to focus on the Kathmandu area this year as this is where there is most need.