Construction is getting underway in Apchaur! We have transported almost all of the materials, except for the bricks which will be arriving today. The delay is because the government school has also begun their construction, which is causing some issues with storage and traffic.
We have encountered slight problem with water. We were not expecting the government school to be under construction until october, thats what we were told by school management, but for some reason they are mandated with completion within a month. This is causing some issues in terms of water required for construction. We are trying to manage water through rain water harvesting and have meeting with people from another village requesting for water.
Also, the school management has decided to change the location of construction. Now our school will be adjacent to the current school on the back side. So we are having to invest an extra 4 days to clear the stones and break the concrete that was already there.
Below are some update photos from the start of construction.
Last month some ABIN Board members returned to Nepal to meet with Nepali government officials, and our local design team (Creative Services). On this trip ABIN entered into a partnership agreement with the Society For Economic Development (SODEC), a Nepali non-profit. This was an important step as such partnerships are required in order work in Nepal. Rob, Parshu, and Dave spent many hours working with Creative Services. Our goal of finalizing the school design and submitting it to both the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and Central Level Project Implementation Unit (CLPIU) for approvals was achieved. We will be constructing the walls using an interlocking style of concrete block. This system is a dry laid type of masonry that is reinforced with rebar and concrete grout. Important from a seismic perspective, cast-in-place concrete lintels poured above and below all window and door openings and at the top of walls. The lintels run completely around the whole structure at these intervals. When we visited the school site in fall 2016 it wasn’t possible to drive to the school; however, the people of Apchaur have since built a road, partially by hand, so that we can bring supplies up to the school site.
One of the buildings fell in the 2015 earthquake and has been replaced by a temporary structure built from corrugated steel and bamboo. The other building was heavily damaged and condemned. The people of Apchaur were trying to raise the 25,000 rupees ($350 CDN, approx. half a year salary in Nepal) needed to demolish the second building, which had to happen before we could begin construction. Raising money is difficult for farming communities as they mainly deal in barter trade, so this was going to take all the village’s saving and more. While at the village last month, ABIN made the decision to give the village this much-needed money. The villagers were very pleased, and got around 30 people over the following days to demolish the building. We are now ready to start building!
Nick Versteeg of DV Media joined the ABIN board in Nepal. Nick is working on a follow-up to his documentary on the 2015 earthquake. We will let you know when his newest documentary is complete. Please take a look at Nick’s website for information and a blog about his time in Nepal. All the stunning images in this post were provided by Nick.
Over the next few weeks we hope to be sharing with you news about supplies being brought in and the foundation commencing. This dream has become reality and we are grateful for everyone involved. We are still about $20,000 away from our goal to complete this school so please consider making a donation, you can even send an email money transfer to email@example.com as this avoids the fees charged by GoFundMe.
We wanted to take a moment to say a HUGE thank-you to all of our amazing supporters. It is thanks to you that the dream will become a reality, and soon! We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our community, especially the local construction companies. These t-shirts are currently in Nepal (and available for purchase to support us!) displaying the names of some of these generous donors.
Rob set off with some of the team last Thursday to visit the village and meet with various officials as we complete the plans and start to collect materials for building. Nick Versteeg, the talented local filmmaker (dvmedia.ca), met with them yesterday at the village to capture some of the journey for his next piece. We should be able to share some of his images with you over the coming weeks.
Here are some pictures from the visit:
We learned in the past few weeks that the Nepali Department of Education wants to partner with us to rebuild the school in Apchaur, and hopefully continue to work with us on future projects. This is a huge step forward and should enable us to build more and cut through the red tape a little bit faster! This makes your donations even more important; we are around halfway to our intital goal right now and we need to have the materials collected before the monsoon season kicks off in full force. Please donate what you can, every bit helps. You can send interac money transfers to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our GoFundMe page to donate online.
This is a blog that is a long time coming and I am very excited to share our updates.
In each of our bi-weekly meetings we seem to launch forward, which is very exciting, as our dream is becoming reality. We have been working hard to finalize school plans; we have our project manager, Dave, leading this with our contact in Nepal. Our president Rob will be going with Dave to Nepal in April to sign contracts to begin the work! Construction itself is still a ways away, but Rob making this trip is a huge step forward. We are working with an engineering and construction firm based out of Kathmandu so we are keeping all the money within Nepal. This trip will begin the process of obtaining approvals and permits, having trees cut down along with sand and rock taken from a river in order to make concrete as well as making a trip up to the village.
Another exciting piece of news is that a local filmmaker, Nick Versteeg, has approached us as he is making a follow-up documentary to his ‘Five Weeks in Nepal’ project and wants to do a feature on Another Brick in Nepal. Nick’s documentary can be found on the here, and you can read more about him on the DV Media website. This is a great opportunity to work with a local filmmaker and have our project gain some more exposure. Rob will be working with Nick during the trip in April. We will keep you up to date on the documentary as it gets produced.
Thank you everyone for all your support. Please keep telling people about ABIN.
Last week we setup a table at MARPAC and had the chance to talk to many of the amazing Canadian service men and women who went through the show.
Here’s the table we set up, don’t forget to look for us around at various events in Victoria, BC, this year. We are always happy to talk about Another Brick in Nepal and the plans that are already rolling for the first school this year. We also have some great hats that we are selling for $25 (cost is $13, $12 goes directly to rebuilding a school!), so you can represent and help us raise awareness as well as money!
We will let you know in advance what the next even will be, and hopefully we will see you there 🙂
You can always donate now, and know that our goal is to have a minimum of 90% of all money raised go directly to the communities we are trying to help. All building supplies and labour will be locally sourced. This is about putting money into communities who need it, and making sure their economies get the boost they benefit from as well as the schools the children will build their futures in.
Randy, one of our board members, talks about the project and his involvement in Another Brick in Nepal.
Getting the Another Brick in Nepal non-profit organization up and running has been a non-stop learning curve peppered with really exciting opportunities. I know much more is ahead before we reach our goal of building a school for very deserving people in Nepal.
I remember where I was when I first heard the name, “Another Brick in Nepal”. I was walking with my dad around Thetis Lake in Victoria. He and his friend Rob had thought of an idea to help rebuild in Nepal after the devastating 2015 earthquake. Rob (ABIN President), came up with the name. As soon as I heard it, I knew it had to be used if the project was to happen – the name was so catchy and relevant. It has now been one year since we first met to discuss the idea to build a school in Nepal. At that time I really didn’t know what would be involved in this whole process. We have all learned a lot over the year and momentum is beginning to pick up now that we are registered as a non-profit organization (still waiting on our charitable number), have built a website, appointed board member roles and visited the school site to name a few of many pieces of the plan.
Visiting the school site for me was nothing short of incredible. I remember that night, after we returned to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, I described our time at the village with a Wizard of Oz reference, in that “we are no longer in Kansas, and we must be over the rainbow.” Like many areas of Nepal, the Nuwakot region is stunning. The people and landscapes are extraordinary. Walking up to the village is something I will never forget. Having an entire village wait for your group to arrive is something that is difficult to put into words. I had seen photos of the destroyed village and school, but images on paper don’t quite do it justice. Seeing this with my own two eyes has fueled me to work as hard as I can to ensure we build a school for this rural village. These are people who deserve help. The students are making do with what they have as a makeshift school, that being corrugated metal leaning together with a roof. This isn’t good enough and they deserve a proper school, as they all want an education.
After a meeting in the school, we came outside to have tea, which was heated over an open fire and served to us. The gratitude shown by these people was humbling. I am happy that I was present when their hope for a school to be built was confirmed. People in Nepal are incredibly hard working. On our walk down from the village we hiked through large rice paddy fields. Many women and men harvest the rice, which feeds their families. Unlike myself, these people don’t have the opportunity to go to a large grocery store, pick up fresh fruits and vegetables and pay for them with a bankcard; these people work hard for their food and life in general and for that, I hold so much admiration for them.
I am grateful for the other people on the ABIN board. Everyone is passionate and brings a different strength to the table. I am very excited for the coming months, as our dream is becoming a reality. Our goal is to break ground to begin construction by summer.
Thank you for reading and following along with our progress.
The picture below is of one of the temporary classrooms being used since the earthquake destroyed the original school building in April, 2015. As you can see, the conditions are poor and not suitable to help these children learn and build a better future for their families.
The space is cramped and ill-equipped with only a single white board for writing and a couple of dilapidated desks and benches. It’s a far cry from the classrooms most of us learnt in, and from where we want our children to learn.
By raising only $60,000 we can take this temporary structure down and build these children a safe and solid 6 room school that will stand up to any future earthquakes. This seems like such a small sum when you think about the huge impact it will have on the lives of everyone in this village for years to come. Please help us give this village its school back – Donate Now!