Deaf school - teachers and children
Dear supporters and friends. More than two years have passed since the dreadful earthquake in Nepal that took so many lives and destroyed thousands of villages and the livelihoods of those remaining. The response from organisations around the world was immediate and gave some relief to the survivors. Sadly the government was slow to respond and did not release any money until over a year later. Even then it was released in an haphazard way and there are many villagers still to receive help from official sources.
I have only recently returned from a visit to our project areas in Nepal including Sindalpalchowk, the most seriously affected earthquake area, where the Nepal Trust has focussed on infrastructure repairs and income support. I am very pleased to say that our efforts have made a huge difference in the villages we are working in and clear signs of progress are being made.
Our trained stonemasons are working flat out to rebuild homes and public structures. New water supplies and irrigation systems are evident in a number of villages and farmers have received training in new techniques such as polytunnels and greenhouses to expand and increase their agricultural productivity. Veterinary training and services have been provided to improve and expand the livestock that was so heavily decimated in the earthquake. Our star farmer, Kshetra, has built an amazing agricultural complex that is attracting farmers from all around who want to copy his systems and techniques. His example is a lesson to all.
One of the first group of people to be helped by the Nepal Trust was the Dalit (untouchable) community. These people own nothing and have no land to support themselves. They exist by labouring or producing things like clothing; many are tailors. Most lost their sewing machines which the Trust replaced. We visited one tailor who is now thriving. From the gift of one machine he has now prospered and expanded, employing three more tailors. A happy man!
Many schools were devastated by the earthquake. Luckily the earthquake happened on a Saturday, the only day when the children are not there. Any other day and the result does not bear thinking about! There is a Higher Secondary school in Kiul that was very badly damaged by the quake. The Trust is committed to building eight new classrooms but, to date, government bureaucracy has stalled progress. Our visit may have resolved some issues and we look forward to some progress in the very near future.
Tarkegjang village under the beautiful snow peaks of Helambu was totally devastated, not a building left standing. These resilient people have done much themselves to restore some normality to their lives. A temporary structure has gone up to replace the Guest House that collapsed - a valuable source of tourist income. It is clean and comfortable and the services and food are remarkable. The Trust is rebuilding the primary school in this village and good progress is now being made. All materials, sand, brick, cement, etc, have to be carried to the site from the nearby roadhead but this is happening with great vigour and purpose. One of the very emotional and inspiring episodes of our visit.
Finally, I made a visit to Bharatpur on the Terai near the border with India. The affects of the earthquake was less marked here but still had a devasting affect on poorly constructed buildings. One such building is the school near Chitwan that specialises in teaching deaf children and children with handicaps such as cerebral palsy. The school building became totally unsafe after the earthquake. Children are getting their lessons in temporary structures that is not entirely suitable for the education they need. Rapid progress is now being made on the new building and we are hoping it will be ready for occupation by the end of this summer.
Thank you for all your help and support. We hope you can continue to help in some way. This was a terrible disaster now, of course, overtaken by new disasters around the world. This does not, in any way, reduce the impact and the need that these people will require for many years to come. Perhaps you can encourage a friend or colleague to help?
With our best wishes and grateful thanks. Namaste.
Deaf school under construction
Tarkegjang school under construction
Tarkegjang hospitality - Thukpa.