23rd January 2017

Giving back to Gurkha communities

Many visitors to Nepal will be familiar with Ghandruk, a popular trekking destination on the way to the famous Annapurna mountain range.

Fewer people will know how the Trust has been helping to develop the town as part of our extensive support for communities in Nepal – giving back to a country that has offered so much to the UK over the last 200 years.

In 2016, we embarked on two projects in Ghandruk, installing a clean water system and building a new classroom block for a local school.

Both projects faced some of the typical challenges our field team has to deal with. At over 1,900m above sea level and with limited road access, getting materials to the build sites was especially testing.

Gairi Gaun water project

The people of Gairi Gaun – a part of Ghandruk – were desperate for help. Their old water system’s pipes were above ground and regularly damaged, leading to leaks and contamination.

The old system, like many in Nepal, only had a few shared tapstands for the whole community. This meant that people still spent much of their time carrying water and waiting in queues.

In April 2016, the Trust stepped in. We built a new, underground system ensuring clean water access. It has the added advantage of improving the look of the village, which relies heavily on tourism.

“Before, our water became contaminated when rats and worms got into the pipes. The new system is excellent – the water is very pure. We’re very happy!”

Arun Gurung, 45-year-old local farmer

As part of our water programme’s commitment to improving lives, we also provided one tapstand for each household, so that people have their own water right on their doorstep.

221 people in 46 households now have easy access to clean, safe drinking water. Sickness rates have dropped and villagers no longer face hours of fetching water each day. They have more time for other activities such as farming or producing goods to sell.

Mesram Baraha Secondary School

Sitting at over 1,900 metres above sea level, Mesram Baraha Secondary school has provided an education to local children for around 60 years. It currently has over 270 pupils.

Several years ago, we helped them by providing library books, but in 2016 they had a bigger request. As part of expansion plans and to help reduce congestion in classes, they needed additional space for their pupils.

We stepped in to provide a two-room, earthquake resistant classroom block. The school is now able to accommodate the extra students comfortably and in a safe environment.

Our schools programme works on dozens of similar projects each year, from providing lab equipment through to building entire schools.

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