Since 1998 thirty eight WireBridges have been built over Nepal's rivers. We estimate these made possible more than 3 million crossings, all without accident.
Sparked by pleas from rural villagers, this low-cost solution emerged from countless volunteer hours, donations from individuals and institutions, and the patience and dedication of a great Nepalese construction team.
With a decade of experience, Village Solutions, the Nepalese affiliate, will will soon start refitting each of the bridges. The upgrades will include a new trolley design (for longer service life), additional safety gear, new ropes, etc. The team will also collect photos and anecdotes from the local users, which we hope to relay back to you, our supporters.
Current donations will be used for four bridges: Thumka ~ 128 meters, Gadhi II ~ 80 meters, Jaldevighat ~ 170 meters, and Sukaura ~ 165 meters. This requires $ 13,800; $ 11,600 is on hand; $ 2.200 to go!
All together the daily traffic on these four bridges is nearly 800 round trips -- for school, health care, market access. That's impact!
Please help us to keep our students (and their parents) aloft!
If you follow the tale of Nepal's politics, you know that after many years all parties to the long conflict are now part of the government. For our bridge-building colleagues in Village Solutions, the startup founded by our former EcoSystems manager, this means that now they can safely send a crew to each WireBridge for routine maintenance. This was not possible for a long time.
It costs between $18,000 and $26,000 to build a WireBridge today, roughly the price of a very inexpensive auto. To maintain a WireBridge we estimate is probably less than that for a car--perhaps around $600 per year. Most of this expense is to replace the tow rope, and periodically to replace the only moving parts: the metal wheels and bearings. A team of volunteer engineers is presently reviewing the design of this "trolley" with the goal of substantially extending the running life, and thus reducing the maintenance cost.
The thirtytwo existing WireBridges will be put on a routine maintenance program. These provide the missing link to school for hundreds of children -- a very effective way to provide reliable access to school, and key infrastructure for the economic and social life of these communities.
Our thanks to every GlobalGiving donor who has helped these thousands of people to reach their goals.
After a few days in the scenic hills of Nepal, you the visitor will begin to see the barriers that confront the local people. As you might expect, this often puts an education almost beyond reach. Many children can't get to a school safely during the monsoon--rivers block their path. Many children have no way to study at home once the sun is down for at best they have only hearth light.
VillageTech Solutions (USA) and our partner VillageSolutions (Nepal) developed this WireBridge (project #4522) and the EcoLight systems (project #3925) as solutions for many of the communities and households.
As with our own vehicles and home appliances, all mechanical systems require maintenance--including of course the WireBridges. The communities as well as their central government have few resources, and for now are unable to maintain this infrastructure.
To keep the paths to school open, we need sponsors to "Adopt-a-Bridge", just as we do to keep our own highways clean. Much like helping an individual child in school, this amounts to sponsoring a trail-full of children. No need to build another school--just make sure the kids can get there and back home safely. Stay tuned--we'll present a bridge, ready for adoption shortly.
VTS and VillageSolutions are already starting the rehabilitation of two of the bridges thanks to generous donors.
Eager for another adventure, my wonderful mother-in-law Hannah Carter, at the age of 81, joined us for a trek in Nepal's Khumbu. It was not only her first time trekking in Nepal. but also her first time sleeping in a tent. But she was determined to see the Himalaya, especially Mount Everest. And did.
At that time (1996) we were designing the first WireBridge.
Hannah's kindness touched many people. In her memory a bridge is now being built in Lamjung District of Nepal, over the Dordi River, in a place called Kirtipur. The river blocks access to much-needed schooling and health care, and limits access to markets and farm land for the local residents. We estimate that about 100 students and 100 other villagers will use this new bridge daily throughout the year. And in the distance, the mountains will be watching.
This is not the first bridge given as a living memorial, nor we hope will it be the last.
Here is a glimpse of the village, the surrounding countryside, and the mountains in the distance.
We hope in the next report to have photos from the construction and inauguration!
VillageTech Solutions (VTS, the US-based nonprofit, and its predecessor, EcoSystems) and local villagers built 37 WireBridges in the valleys of Nepal during the dangerous years of Nepal's civil conflict. While not fully resolved, that conflict has ebbed enough to allow safe passage for the VillageSolutions (VS, the new Nepalese bridge-building company) field supervisors to visit the WireBridge sites.
During the summer 2010, a VS field supervisor visited each site, accompanied by Aashis Joshi, a Dartmouth engineering student, to assess the need for maintenance and upgrades, and to ask the villagers how the bridge had impacted their lives. As these reports become available, we shall share the insights. The first report is included here.
Before new WireBridges are constructed, we intend to address the maintenance needs for these existing structures that were deferred during the conflict.
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