April 24, 2016 marked a year since Nepal and our NSP villages experienced the devastating earthquake. Thank you so much for your support now and in the future. The addition of donating on line has been very beneficial. Our rock and roll event last November was also a success. Betty and Linda and I were able to hold an event in California this winter, which was also successful. Mail donations continue to arrive. As well, in December, an Ottawa elementary school, Hopewell Public School held a Christmas bazaar (called the Blizzard Bazaar) to raise money to help NSP rebuild a school.
We are fortunate at NSP, as a small NGO to be able to control the use of the funds we send to Nepal. We have people on the ground there who are diligent about making sure these funds are used in the best way. We expect explicit accounting records for each project. When the costs have been submitted for each project to Canada, then we send the money. Accountability to you as donors is of the utmost importance to us.
Since our visit to Nepal last November, we have been pleased with the development of both new and old programs by NSP in Nepal. Rakam, Babulal, Kunsang, Suraj and all of our NSP people in Nepal continue to be incredibly supportive, hardworking and committed. Without them we could not function.
Latrines: We had approved a 2year program for building latrines. The first 30 were completed last year. We visited Simla, in November to view them. Our people have been working hard to complete the second phase of 50 latrines in the same area and are just doing so now. While there, we altered the design to include a ventilation stack to enhance the “experience” in the latrine.
Water systems: No new water systems have been installed but the already existing ones needed attention. In November NSP Canada and NSP Nepal created a Water System Repair Committee to first asses the status of the water systems installed in the villages over the years, determine the damages and then repair them. Sanchaman, who has worked with NSP for many years and one other person have been visiting the villages and have been very successful installing new taps and replacing damaged pipes. We decided to replace the standard tap with a lever (less moving parts) resulting in less breakage. The presence of this NSP work group was encouraging to the villagers.
Schools: Since the earthquake, NSP Canada and Nepal have been working hard to develop a plan to repair the damage to the schools in our areas. The Nepalese Government has developed guidelines stipulating that rebuilt schools must be earthquake proof. Our initial designs using rebar and concrete, proved to be too expensive for a group our size to build. We thought there was no other solution but we were very excited to discover a method called Gabion Banding in January. We immediately contacted the inventor, Randolph Langenbach, who was delighted to help us and immediately put us in touch with a group in New Mexico who were planning a home building trip to Nepal using gabion banding. NSP Nepal made contact with them in Katmandu and visited their building site. We have since then created a design for a school and are awaiting the arrival of materials in order to begin. Gabion bands have been adapted from an existing idea called gabion walls, which are installed to prevent shoreline erosion and to shore up steep banks along highways. In constructing the schools, the gabion bands (baskets of rocks) become part of the wall structure, allowing more flexibility during an earthquake, a definite advantage. We are also able to utilize the same local materials as before, with the addition of the wire to wrap the rocks into gabion bands. NSP has decided to replace the wire with polypropylene, as the life expectancy is much longer. It is also much easier to transport than rebar. Remember all materials must be brought in by hand. Gabion Banding has also been approved for use in rebuilding by the Nepalese Government.
To read more about this method of construction please visit: www.conservationtech.com and click on Himalayan earthquake. The Nova presentation is worth watching (and how I heard about Banding). For specifics on gabion banding click on the site below the Nova tab: www.traditional-is-modern.net/nepal.html
A trip is being planned again in November to visit the construction sites and review completed projects.
Please check out the website for an up to date report: www.nepalschoolprojects.ca
Thank you once again for your continuing support.
Fran Lloyd, Executive Director and the rest of the NSP team
Read the email below from our dedicated NSP Nepal Board Member, Suraj, to learn about what has been happening in our villages! NSP Canada is very pleased with all developments. Thank you to our generous supporters!
The reason for writing this mail is that Babulal is back from the villages after supervising the toilets and repair works of drinking water. He is in fact with me while I am writing this mail to you. He along with Kunsang leaves for the villages day after tomorrow and before leaving he wanted me to write a mail to you about the updates on works in the villages. According to Babulal, they have raised walls of almost 10 toilets in the villages. They have already installed doors and ventilation. They will be working on roof of the toilet once they return back. On drinking water, Sanchman all this month was busy carrying out survey works on all villages. He has carried out a survey as to how much of sand, boulders, pipes taps etc would be needed. He is being assisted by a local named Gyamso. Babulal and Kusang too helped him out while they were in Simle. They have decided that they will carry out repair and maintenance of drinking water in Jorsanga, Ratmate and Sola Bhanjyang Bakpal danda villages in the initial phase. You will be glad to know that some 165 households will directly benefit from repair and maintenance work. Babulal informed me that NSP has also decided to form a committee that will collect 20 Rupees a month for maintenance and repair of drinking water in the future which means that it will not be a burden to NSP in future. According to Babulal, the villagers of above mentioned villages are very happy that NSP has initiated repair and maintenance of drinking water and have thanked NSP and especially to you for taking this initiative. I will keep you informed about further developments and updates once Babulal is back from the villages next time.
NSP was fortunate to have the wonderful students and teachers at Hopewell Public School raise funds for NSP through their annual Blizzard Bazaar! The annual Blizzard Bazaar is put on by Hopewell's Me to We philanthropy group. The bazaar is a fun-filled evening led by students, with lots of crafts and baked goods to buy, student performances, raffles, face painting, and a silent auction! This year the students also had an opportunity to write a letter to students in Banakhu! Hopewell raised a whopping $13, 000! We are exceptionally grateful! Thank you Hopewell Public School!
Click here to view the incredible video they created that highlights the power of students helping students and why YOU should get involved. The video was created by Elia Sailkaly-an award winning filmmaker!
Since the devastating earthquake hit Nepal and damaged NSP villages, three groups have visited our NSP villages. Their goal-to see first-hand the damage that has been done so that NSP can be intentional moving forward in 2016. Keep reading to learn about who visited Nepal, the exciting work that has transpired, and what our plans are for the near future!
First time visitors to Nepal, Karin (one of the NSP board members), her husband Jim and 12-year-old daughter, Rowen journeyed to Kathmandu in late October. They visited Bankhu, our most damaged school, and some of the other NSP villages on a 5-day trek. Their family brought hope and joy to the villagers.
Betty Irwin, Fran Lloyd and Linda Padgett also visited the villages of NSP, including Bankhu, on a 7-day trek. Their main goals on the trek were to assess the damage to NSP schools, review 20 new latrine installations, and develop a water system repair plan.
Elia Saikal, a Canadian adventure cinematographer and fundraiser has become interested in supporting NSP as a result of his love for Nepal. He has summited Everest twice. While in Nepal in October Elia was also able to visit Bankhu and he created a short video that was used by Hopewell School in Ottawa to raise funds for NSP. He is planning another trip in early 2016 and hopes to raise more funds for NSP. You can visit Elia’s website here: http://eliasaikaly.com/
While in Nepal, these groups spent considerable time with the NSP Nepal Board members. Meetings focused on reviewing developments of the last year and planning for the coming year. Below is a summary of all NSP developments and plans for the immediate future. We have been very productive!
Building and Infrastructure
3. Water Systems:
This holiday season we are feeling very grateful for our dedicated NSP Nepal Board family. They are an inspiring group of people who motivate us every day. We send nothing but the warmest of wishes to them in return this holiday season.
No one can imagine what life must be like in Nepal after the devastating earthquake in April. The Kabre district, where we have done most our work was one of the areas that was most severely affected by the quake. Over 90% of our schools have been damaged or destroyed. Our people on the ground in Nepal were able to reach the villages quickly and assess the damage so that we could respond to some of their immediate needs and create a longer term plan for rebuilding. One of the advantages of NSP is that we are not encumbered by administrative infrastructure so that we can respond quickly and effectively. In a very short time we had acquired over 1000 tarps and other emergency supplies and had them distributed to the most needy in the villages from our storage location in Banepa. Rakam, Babulal, Surag (members of the NSP Board in Nepal) and many others worked tirelessly to get the job done, even though they were dealing with their own personal situations as a result of the earthquake. The monsoons were about to begin, so it was important to provide some temporary shelter to those whose homes were uninhabitable. Our team was able to conduct an assessment to determine who was in the most need and NSP Canada was able to provide financial aid to 30 families who had suffered extreme damages to their homes. Now, we have shifted our efforts away from emergency response to long-term prevention and sustainability. We are in the process of designing an earthquake resistant school to replace our destroyed structures. We hope to create a dual purpose building that can not only act as a school but also as an emergency shelter in times of need. We expect to have a completed design to review when we travel to Nepal this November. As soon as an estimated cost of this building is available we will share it with you.
NSP executive director, Fran Lloyd, leaves for Nepal on Oct. 25 and will be joined by 3 of NSP Canada’s board members and 2 other interested NSP supporters. On our 7 day trek through the villages we will be able to assess the situation first hand so that we are better able to move forward. We would like to thank everyone who has donated to NSP and hope that you will continue to support us through these difficult challenges. Over the next 5 years we will need to raise 2.5 million dollars. Your ongoing participation will allow us to continue to help the people of Nepal. At no time has it been more important than now!
While the earthquake led to great sadness as we grieved for our friends and colleagues in Nepal, it most certainly didn't slow us down! Thanks to our generous donors, we have successfully completed 30 new latrines in NSP villages and are in the process of drafting plans for school reconstruction. Our new schools will be stronger than ever, as we have been researching earthquake resistant materials that will guarantee the safety of students and villagers. We need your support to ensure we can move forward with our construction and rebuild all that was lost.
On October 22nd, 2015, the NSP Canada Board will be hosting a fundraiser to support our earthquake reconstruction efforts. There will be music, cultural dancers, delicious food and much more! Tickets will be available starting September 1st and will cost $50. Please join us to learn about NSP, have a great time, and most importantly, to contribute to an incredible cause. Tickets are available online and are also available through board members.
NSP has begun to get word that the majority of our schools have been destroyed. This is devastating news for the NSP family as many of these schools have been standing for 40 years. They had become pillars of hope in the villages. They now represent despair.
It is essential that we rebuild the infrastructure that has been destroyed. In Kathmandu, many aid organizations have rushed to repair schools and students have gotten word that they will be able to return to their education in the upcoming weeks. In the mountains of the Kaavre district, there is no end to the chaos in sight. NSP is the only aid organization working in this area and infrastructure development falls to us. We are proud to play this role but we can't do it alone. More than ever before, we need your support. Without one school, dozens of villages are without access to education, the poverty gap is further widened, and the children are looking at a future void of opportunities. By working with NSP, you have the power to change their path. Donate now!
We'll keep you apprised of all developments and news about our projects in Nepal.