18 May 2017

Nepal Disaster Relief shifts focus to long-term development

The 8.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25th 2015 is fixed in the memories of Nepalese people. The quake and subsequent aftershocks left devastation and a heavily scarred landscape in its wake. Everyone in Nepal was affected: vital infrastructure was destroyed, entire villages were flattened, and more than three million people were left homeless.
This level of destruction had an especially significant impact on Nepal's children. In addition to the personal losses many suffered, the destruction and damage of schools and classrooms meant that children could not return to school, putting their education and futures in jeopardy. In the weeks following the earthquake, international volunteer organization Projects Abroad called for volunteers to support Nepal, and the Disaster Relief Project was launched in June 2015.
The primary goal of the Disaster Relief Project was to rebuild classrooms so that children could resume their education in a safe environment. Projects Abroad is extremely proud to announce that with the help of 500 volunteers from around the world, the organization achieved this goal within just 20 months.
"If we look at the numbers," says Georgiana Poparad, Operations Manager in Nepal for Projects Abroad, "a total of 96 classrooms were built in the past twenty months. This means that our volunteers helped more than 2000 children continue their education in a place of safety. This is an incredible achievement and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Projects Abroad volunteers. We were also able to extend our aid to more schools in the Kathmandu Valley thanks to our partnership with the Nepal Youth Foundation in mid-2016."
In the wake of the earthquakes, the Projects Abroad Disaster Relief Project addressed immediate needs in Nepal. Now that the situation is no longer critical and the project has accomplished what Projects Abroad set out to do and benefitted thousands of children, it has been closed. As has been done in many other countries, Projects Abroad will now open a General Building Project in Nepal, which will continue the work of the Disaster Relief project, but will now focus on medium and long-term goals to support education in Nepal.
The work done on this project is important and will focus on assisting children whose education remains adversely affected by the earthquakes. "Without the assistance of Projects Abroad volunteers and staff, it will be years – possibly even decades – before all schools affected by the earthquake are rebuilt," says Poparad. "Projects Abroad has worked in Nepal for years, and our projects have always addressed the needs of local communities and implemented vital support structures. Our new project will do the same and we will continue to support the people of Nepal in any way we can."
Volunteers participating in the General Building Project in Nepal get involved with all aspects of construction, from digging foundations to plastering and painting. No previous experience is required as volunteers work under the supervision of an engineer, sub-engineer and a mason. The project is available year-round. For more information, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/building/general-building-projects/volunteer-nepal/.