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Making A Difference with #LoveinAction in Nepal

By UPLIFT on Friday September 25th, 2015

What is really needed to help Nepal and how can we truly make a difference?

Connectivity, compassion, and collaboration are rising from the wreckage in Nepal. At a grassroots level, progress is happening each day, as people come together to help rebuild homes, provide medical facilities and set up transitional schools. The spirit of #LoveInAction in Nepal is shining through the shared efforts to rebuild a safer and more sustainable future for the Nepalese.

As a response to the devastating earthquakes in April and May, #TentsToNepal was initiated to shelter the people through the monsoon rains. Now collaborating partner ABARI, an educational institute dedicated to sustainable construction, is ready to move into the next inspiring phase of regenerative work that will soon begin.

While the political debate continues on how to best utilize relief funds and begin reconstructing the entire country, ABARI is leading the way by providing Owner & Community Driven solutions to support rebuilding sustainable communities with Model Villages and Community Facility Centers.

Owner Driven Reconstruction is a dignified approach encouraging individual homeowners to implement designs they choose, economically built with sustainable local natural materials such as earth, stone, bamboo, adobe and reed. These homes are far safer and sturdier than concrete for a country where further earthquakes are expected.

Abari Rammed Earth project
ABARI rammed earth building project

Site assessments have been made in 3 initial areas, where there are both the natural resources available and interest of the villagers to participate in creating sustainable value chains for rebuilding their communities.

ABARI envisions a series of public Community Facility Centers established in earthquake-affected districts which can serve as combined temporary learning centers and vocational training centers.
– says founder, Nripal Adhikary.

This is how it works: The ABARI team members engage the community with ‘on the job training’, showing them how to make Compressed Earth Block and Mud and Stone Housing, which the community can then continue building until all families are sheltered. Many salvageable materials are also utilized in these permanent house structures.

ABARI first assists the community to build a school, part of which will serve as a Community Facility Center to house tool libraries and training workshops and provide space for social enterprise, where local resources are used, and everyone benefits. ABARI are forming committees to engage with the communities for periodic evaluation and value addition for their outreach and entrepreneurship plans.

The first model village in Kulay, Nuwakot. Kavre in Timal has also been identified as a Model Village site, and there are several possibilities in Sindalpchowk, where ABARI are working with NGO Hands With Hands.

Learn more about ABARI’s Model for Permanent Home Reconstruction Through Community Facility Centers.

Abari Haryio Ban Program
ABARI Haryio Ban Program

Rebuilding Starts October Onwards

Nepal’s newly created National Reconstruction Authority will hopefully begin approving plans to start permanent constructions from October onwards. Here’s how ABARI participated in last month’ exhibition to showcase various local and sustainable construction materials and safer building construction techniques.

While building permissions are in the process of being approved, ABARI also continue to focus on other foundational projects: Trainings for volunteers and growing natural building materials!

ABARI Volunteer Trainings

ABARI are developing 10 day and 3 week programs designed to be a fulfilling experience for volunteers contributing to the reconstruction efforts. These programs will provide volunteers with on-site workshops on building with rammed earth, brick making, bamboo truss making and mud plastering. If you are interested in joining ABARI’s volunteer programs, visit this site.

Bamboo Plantations For Building

Chitwan is ABARI’s center in the south, where their hand driven factory for yurts and furniture production and a large bamboo plantation is located. This is where the frames for #TentsToNepal yurts are put together, and where the experiments in community enterprise with bamboo are made. The yurt frames will be sent from here throughout the earthquake affected areas. There are also designs being experimented with for fancier designs that can be used for visitors guest ‘yurts’ and furniture.

Abari Maadi Yurts
ABARI Maadi Yurts Up Team

In collaboration with WWF Nepal, ABARI is now planting 10,000 bamboo plants in the Maadi municipality of Chitwan. The Hariyo Ban Program also aims to reduce adverse impacts of climate change and threats to biodiversity in Nepal and is funded by USAID Nepal, and implemented by a conglomerate of WWF, CARE Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), Nepal and Federation of Community Forestry Users, Nepal (FECOFUN) with WWF as the lead.

How Can We Make A Difference?

This crisis is providing us all with an opportunity to explore #LoveInAction at a personal level, and experience first hand the basic human goodness that is our intrinsic nature.

Many are asking: what is really needed and how can we truly make a difference? If this is a question in your heart, here are some ideas that may speak to you:

  1. Volunteer
  2. Share Specific Knowledge
  3. Visit Nepal
  4. Organize A Charity Trek
  5. Make a Donation
  6. Fundraise Doing What You Love
  7. Raise Awareness by Sharing
  8. Join us to Have A Cup Of Tea for Nepal Sept 23

More than one million houses were fully or partially damaged during the April 2015 earthquakes. Today, more than four months later, the UN estimates around 10% of the population still need shelter, food and basic medical care. Many in mountainous, hard-to-reach areas, who have so far mostly received food and tent materials from aid agencies and grassroots organizations.

1. Volunteer

You don’t need to be an experienced builder to participate in Rebuilding Nepal volunteer program. In addition to the ABARI Foundation Volunteer Training programs, Conscious Impact also offers volunteer programs for a variety of projects, dedicated to action oriented participation in social change across the planet.

How can we make a positive, conscious impact on global development?

The most popular program right now is Rebuild Nepal for the Sept and Oct builds.

At the start of monsoon, ABARI welcomed a group of young natural building architects from India, who came to lend a helping hand in the Rammed Earth Workshops and planning for the Model Villages including Areen and Azeer Attari from Put Your Hands together. Here’s what Azeer said about his experience volunteering in Nepal:

It is a humbling experience to travel to a neighboring country and work hands-on with friends from all over the world to create temporary shelters, permanent homes and help support life. The warmth and generosity of the locals really touch my heart.

I can remember till now the smile on the home owner Sanu Maya when the first day she greeted us. The gratitude in her smile I will never forget. I am coming back Nepal.

For more information, see this ABARI feature on rebuilding Sanu Maya’s place.

Nuwakot Model Village site view
Nuwakot Model Village site view

2. Share specific knowledge

If you have knowledge of simple technologies suitable in resource scarce environments, share it with those who can use it.

In particular, solar/wind/hydro power technologies that are simple to build, install, use and maintain. Contact Kira [email protected]

ABARI are also sending out a call to the architects and civil engineers with experience in natural building and bio architecture who would like to come join hands in rebuilding Nepal. Please send you resume to [email protected]

3. Visit Nepal

Tourism is very important to the Nepalese economy. The tourism industry provides employment and income for tens of thousands of people in Nepal. During this time of tragedy, nothing is more comforting than support from a friend. Visitors to Nepal can help Nepal to recover from its wounds in many ways. Here are seven great reasons why to visit Nepal. Here’s what you also need to know about “Come to Nepal –but Nepal is in Chaos“.

4. Organize a charity trek

A great way to visit Nepal is to join a trek, or organise your own charity trek! The best time is Oct Nov March April. We recommend getting in touch with Birendra from Visit Nepal Tibet. Birendra can help you organize:

  • Trekking, rafting, adventures and religious pilgrimages in Nepal
  • Project visits that can add the human compassion element
  • Yoga Workshops and Meditation Retreats in beautiful settings
  • For more info on Inspirational Charity Treks visit Hands with Hands.
Abari Permanent Houses
ABARI Permanent Houses, photo by Sagar Chitrakar

5. Make a donation

Any amount counts – it all makes a difference to support the purchase of resources and other necessities to enable these trustworthy projects. Some of these organizations have been featured throughout our blogs so far, and will be introducing the focus of their projects in the upcoming series.

6. Fundraise doing what you love

Be creative and gather your community together doing something you love!

  • Host an art exhibition or a music/theatre concert
  • Create a themed dinner party or sponsor a public event or tour
  • “Adopt a Project” to directly contributed to a specific purpose
  • Dedicate birthday gifts to your favourite charity
  • Sponsor a Child, their School Fees or a Transitional Classroom
  • Buy items made from Nepal, for your family and your own business

7. Raise awareness by sharing

A new generation of aid workers are emerging through the crises in Nepal – young people using social media to help save lives and rebuild the country

For our many Nepali friends, just knowing that people are caring and sharing, gives them renewed energy to continue helping others. Here’s what you can do:

  • Connect with #TentsToNepal collaborating partners for their latest updates and support their efforts
  • Join the global worldwide event to raise our cups in celebration of the spirit of the people and Have a Cup of Tea for Nepal Sept 23

Visit Hands With Hands to learn more about ideas and events. Here is exclusive footage from Nepal and how you can make a difference: Hands with Hands founder Kira Kay shares about the destructive impact of April’s earthquakes – and the possibilities in joining hands to support the nation’s recovery with a sense of empowerment dignity and integrity

Ladies from farm with tea
Pictured here are the ladies from ORGANIC INDIA’s Vrindavan Farm gathered together to share their prayers and Have A Cup Of Tea For Nepal.

9. Have a cup of tea for Nepal

This crisis is providing us all with an opportunity to explore #LoveInAction at a personal level, and experience first hand the basic human goodness that is our intrinsic nature. We offer our heartfelt gratitude to all who have donated funds and supplies to #TentsToNepal and all those who continue to send their blessings. Here’s where you can find updates on how your donations have been put to good use.

May our prayers and offerings to Nepal convey our heartfelt compassion, and may this response of #LoveInAction help us to realize what is possible, when we come together for the benefit of all.

WORDS BY ANNA BRIJBALA
FEATURE IMAGE: Deepa Shrestha closes her eyes, her hands clasped in prayer, as she stands with hundreds of others during a community gathering and prayer organized by the Nepal Seattle Society at the Hindu Temple & Cultural Center in Bothell. (Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times)

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