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!
Though we have faced many challenges on the journey so far, such as the joy of overcoming bureaucracy, the passion to help the children of Nepal is very much alive. This passion was renewed with a vengeance this October when the board members took a trip out to Nepal to visit the two villages in the Nuwakot region where the first two schools will be built.
Having the opportunity to meet with the children, teachers and parents in the communities reinforced the huge need there is for support. Both villages have received no aid since the earthquake over 18 months ago. One teacher told us that the attendance has dropped by almost 50% since the earthquake, they no longer have the facilities to support a proper education and so parents have taken their children out of school to help with crops and livestock. The children who are still attending are learning in temporary structures made of wood and corrugated metal with a couple of ramshackle benches.
Despite the difficult situation these children are faced with, they are still so curious and excited to learn. They were all so thrilled to practice their English with us and show us what they could say. We brought friendship bracelets (made by Alana, one of our awesome team) to give to the children and they couldn’t have been more excited, with all of them gathering Alana around to get theirs tied on. We also took some balloons, this was the first time any of them had even seen a balloon so we got to show them how to blow them up and see their faces light up when they realized how they worked…and the fun noises you can make with them when you let the air out!
Another Brick in Nepal will work with these communities to source local materials and labour to help them build safe and suitable schools to give their children the opportunity to choose their futures for many years to come. It is our hope that we will, with your support, be able to build these first two schools next year with many more to come. We will keep you up-to-date with any news, progress and upcoming charity events via the website. If you could please visit donation page and give generously we will be breaking ground in no time!
Rob Tournour, Founder of Another Brick in Nepal