In the aftermath of the massive earthquakes in Nepal, we were inundated with requests for help. As emergency aid was rushed to the affected areas, we wanted to focus on finding a way we could help Tibetans re-build their lives and businesses in the long-term.
Towards the end of last year, a proposal came to us from the Dolma Fund which reflected our focus perfectly, offering skills training, long-term sustainability, earthquake resistant shelter and a means for people to re-build their own lives and get their businesses up and running again.
Bridim is a remote ethnic Tibetan village in the Langtang National Park in Nepal. The village is built in a traditional style and receives many eco-tourists visit each year to enjoy the village’s cultural and architectural heritage and stunning scenery. This tourism is an essential form of livelihood for many of the village families.
The earthquakes of April and May destroyed the village and left the entire population of 200 people living under tarpaulin.
The Dolma Fund is working to teach the villagers sustainable, earthquake-resistant ways to rebuild their houses and businesses using materials carefully salvaged from the rubble. It is essential these homes are rebuilt in the traditional style both to preserve the architectural heritage and to bring essential eco-tourism back to the area and this is key to the project’s approach.
Also key is the long-term sustainability of the project; by training the villagers to build earthquake-resistant buildings themselves, the project ensures that future repairs and construction can be done without outside help.
This first stage of the project had just been completed. Villagers have received ‘on the job’ training and have managed to complete a brand new, earthquake-resistant, eco-friendly community centre! The centre is providing shelter for village families during the cold winter months whilst reconstruction of individual houses begins. Work is also underway on repairing the village water system, bridges and footpaths so life can get back to normal as quickly as possible.
In the next stage, a two-story ‘model house’ will be completed, allowing more villagers to be trained in building skills. Once the house is complete, enough villagers will have the necessary skills to rebuild all of the 54 homes and businesses which were destroyed by the earthquakes.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our earthquake appeal and made it possible for us to be able to extend a grant of £25,000 to this project. We will keep you updated as work continues and the villagers get to return to their own homes.