While the International Citizen Service (ICS) in partnership with Raleigh is now well into their third cycle, the first Raleigh expedition kicked off 6 months ago with volunteers ready and rearing to start the expedition campaign as we meant to go on.
Prior to the arrival of the first venturers, the country office staff worked tirelessly to make the Raleigh Nepal dream a feasible reality. They, alongside our project partners Build Up Nepal and Goretto Ghorka, set about identifying the first communities that Raleigh would be working with. As we know from our subsequent digging exploits, good results come from building on a solid foundation.
In June the venturers battled the monsoon rains on trek, developing leadership skills, team working and learnt about how becoming an active global citizen can help spur on positive and sustainable development.
Following the installation of brick making machines in two villages in the Ghorka district, work began with a vengeance. Local people have been given training on how to use these machines in order that following the construction of their own homes, the bricks can later be sold for profit in a business enterprise. Encouraging entrepreneurship is just one example of how Raleigh hopes to generate ownership, and therefore instil sustainability into all the projects they are involved in.
Now, after only five short months, all nine earthquake resistant houses begun by that first group of volunteers have solid roofs. The most exciting thing about this though, is that the driving force behind it has been the communities themselves. As one volunteer said: ‘everyone was so receptive, both the volunteers and the communities…it was inspiring to see that work’. Another added: ‘the villages have been inspired to develop themselves’.
In this, the second Raleigh Nepal expedition, nine more earthquake proof houses are in the process of being built. Foundations are well under way and we hope it won’t be long before we are back working on ground level once more. Alongside this, the introduction of the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) project has brought a new challenge. While at present we are focused primarily on raising awareness of these issues, the communities remain keen to be involved and have highlighted particular problems regarding sanitation that have been worsened by the 2015 earthquake. It is Raleigh’s hope that we can continue to work in partnership with the communities and help them work through these challenges.
One year down and the future is looking bright.
Words by Sally Wright
Photos by Daniel Buttifant