Tibetan Community Nepal Quake Fund
Although a lot of international relief is pouring into Nepal, it is very unlikely to reach such a small community. Furthermore, there are political tensions which make it hard for Tibetan communities to access relief aid. For these reasons, plus our very personal connection with this beautiful little community, we both feel compelled to help them rebuild their homes. We have already found a western architect who will survey the buildings this week, and we have a local builder who can start working as soon as funds are available. In this way, the building will also help the local economy.
Please consider donating any amount no matter how small. Due to the internet restrictions of the community in Nepal, the donation page has been set up by my old friend Richard Howarth in Australia. Hence, he is listed as the page author. But please know that he has done this at our request. Also please note the currency is in Australian dollars. All money will come straight to this community. We will personally make sure that all donations go towards the rebuilding of the community's homes.
We will endeavour to post updates online so people can see how the work progresses but please understand that this will be impacted by poor local internet connections. Thank you for considering supporting this appeal!
It has been a while since our last update so we thought we would share some news from Nepal. It has been extremely difficult finishing off the last remaining bits and pieces due to the severe petrol shortage in Nepal. For those who don’t know, Nepal has suffered from political tensions at the border with India for over two months now. This has led to a blockade which had made it virtually impossible for many goods to come overland from India into Nepal. This has included petrol, gas, food and other supplies. Needless to say, this is crippling Nepal and the attempts to recover from the earthquakes. For more information, I have included a link below from the Guardian website.
At the community, the residents have moved into the building and are enjoying their new home. The ruins of the fallen temple, which were quite a hazard, have been moved to the side. In true Nepali style, these stones and rubble will be used to fill in the massively broken road which collapsed due to a landslide earlier in the year. Once clear, the area will start returning to normal and the residents can start getting back on with their lives. The solar panels we plan to install are imported from India. Once the blockade is lifted, these and the security bars for the windows will be fitted. Hopefully, this won’t take too much longer. Unfortunately, there is no sight of the blockade ending just yet. We were actually very fortunate to get the building finished before this political turmoil started. All of the prefab materials came from India and so had we started a little later we may have found ourselves completely stuck. Anyway, the residents now have their homes providing them with warmth and safety during the winter months.
Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who has supported this project!
We would like thank those individuals whose have so kindly responded to the recent appeal by spreading the word and to those who have made donations to help us meet outstanding costs. Thank you all so much!
In particular, we would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Irene Turner who has made a truly generous donation to the appeal. Not only will this help us cover the existing expenses but Irene has also pledged further funds to assist more rehousing of local residents! A massive thank you, Irene!
We are nearly at the end of our Gelong Project which is absolutely fantastic. It has been an extraordinary journey which many of you who have followed the updates will know. The prefab building is now fully erected and the concrete flooring is drying before the residents can move in. All the electrics have been wired and are ready to be connected to the mains. Individual solar systems for the residents are coming and we have arranged a water filtration and purification system. A recent study found that samples of water from multiple sources and sites across Kathmandu all contained cholera and other bacterial diseases - even bottled water sold in the shops! So we are pleased to have upgraded the community’s drinking water.
You can see from the photos that the prefab building is excellent. We are extremely pleased with the quality of the building. It is strong, secure and very safe. We are told it is “earthquake friendly” up to M9 and considering scientists recently reported that there is a high likelihood of future earthquakes in this area, I think we have erected a good building for the circumstances. Another extremely useful aspect of the building is that should it be required it can be taken down and erected at another site. Otherwise, we are told it will last at least 30 years which is a long time by Nepali building standards! This will provide options for the future development of site. The building could be incorporated into the larger development or removed and erected elsewhere.
I have posted a copy of the budget for the project detailing how the fundraising money has been spent. You will see that the actual budget has gone over the amount raised by approximately AU $2,974. For this reason, we would like to ask people to assist by circulating our appeal to help make up this shortfall. Many of you have already given generously and we and the local community are extremely grateful for each and every donation that has been made. So our request is to ask if you can "spread the word” to those who may be willing to even give a small amount. Anything would be sincerely appreciated and help to cover the remaining costs.
There are a number of reasons as to why the costs increased. These include the following:
1. A lot of the temporary shelter broke due to the violent nature of the monsoon rains and winds. Several tarps and three tents needed replacing during the almost five months it has taken to create more permanent housing
2. The original foundation was destroyed by local officials and the new site of the building included the demolition of an old building prior to work recommencing. This increased the cost of the foundation from AU$1,391 to AU$4,852
￼3. The monsoon rains created terrible landslides destroying the road leading up to the site. This meant all the materials had to be carried quite a long distance from the truck to the site. This increased the cost of wages.
4. The monsoon weather also doubled the amount of time the work took. Often torrential rain simply stopped work for hours, or wet materials and goods slowed down the work progressing. This also significantly increased cost of wages.
5. The final design of the prefab building increased in size after the move to the second site. This extra room costs another AU$2,782.
Aside from the increased costs - which were unforeseen - we think the financial management of the project has gone well. We negotiated a discount from the prefab company. We had a wonderful project manager called Ngawang who greatly assisted the work for free - we only had to pay his expenses. We sourced all of our materials locally which meant they were cheaper as well as supporting the local economy. We employed a excellent local builder and all the workers came from the nearby village of Tara Bir. This is a poor village with high levels of unemployment that was badly hit by the earthquake. And so by providing 40 days consistent work for up to 10 different workers from this village we have supported the local community - no doubt assisting them to help rebuild or repair their own homes. Finally, Deniz and I donated all of our time for free, overseeing this project which has consumed us for the past five months. We also did not draw any expenses for ourselves.
We sincerely hope that everyone who donated to this appeal are happy with how the work has proceeded and the outcomes we have achieved. Of the 12 permanent residents on the site prior to the earthquakes, 6 have been temporarily rehoused elsewhere and there is now space for six residents to remain on the site - five in the new prefab building plus one repaired bungalow with kitchenette. All the residents are extremely happy with all the work which now means they can move out of their tents and tin shelters into safe, clean, and secure housing that will last for many, many years!
Please do consider circulating this last appeal to help us raise the final AU$2,974 that will have covered all the costs of this project.
Once again, thanks to each and every person who has helped to rebuild the housing of our local Tibetan Community.
As some of you may know, nearly two weeks ago there was a nasty landslide inside the national park. This severely damaged the road leading up to the Gelong Community and also took out several electricity pylons. Fortunately, the Nepal Electricity Authority managed to get the power back up and running within a week. The road itself will probably remain ruined for some time, if not suffer further erosion as the monsoon rains continue to create more landslides in the immediate vicinity. Despite these obstacles, we have managed to receive several truck loads of deliveries for the prefab installation.
Workers carried all the panels and other goods along the damaged portion of the road, through the forest and to the site. Krishna, our local builder, did a fantastic job of completing a high-quality foundation on which the prefab building will stand. Installation has now begun and is progressing well. Whilst the whole area still looks like a construction site, and the ruins of the temple act as a constant reminder of the earthquake, the sight of the building going up has truly brought hope and life to a community that has suffered so many setbacks and difficulties over the past four months. For the first time, the residents have literally begun to imagine what their new homes will look like. Although each person will only receive one small room, it has been amazing to see the delight on their faces as the once distant reality of a safe, clean and new home draws closer and closer.
Currently, we have the prefab company workers sleeping under the massive tent-like tarp at night so they can remain on-site to get the job finished within the coming week. Yesterday, we also had a visit from a solar company who will provide a quote to install a basic solar system that will provide light during the daily power shortages and the ability to charge mobiles and small devices. All in all, this week truly feels like we have made massive progress. The end is now in sight!
Of course, we will offer a complete update and round up once the building is complete and everyone has moved in.
Thanks for your updates. Sending you two lots of love.
Looks like you are using SIPS for the walls which is great news. Also about the solar panels - I learnt recently that 'solar thermal' is best anywhere that gets heavy snow fall as the panels heat up (which straight solar and PV don't) so the snow and ice melt and slide off. Worth investigating? Best of luck. I'm posting this to friends and public alike.
_/_ Hope it works this time :-)
That is meant to be _/_
Namaste. Thanks for this update Jason & Deniz. I was wondering how things were going for you and knew you would be facing many problems the like of which you outline here. I didn't imagine leeches though. Horrible! So glad to hear about the prefab which will make life much more bearable and especially dry and rat free. I'm posting this widely in the hope that your funds will swell giving you the ability to meet all of the community's present needs and building the fund further to cover a more permanent solution when the authorities eventually allow. Om Shanti _/_