On the 25th of April 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring nearly 22,000. This earthquake was one of the darkest days in Nepal’s history, 800,000 homes were destroyed and a further 298,000 were damaged. 4 years on, there are still remnants of this earthquake wherever you turn. It is estimated less than 20% of homes have been rebuilt since the earthquake struck.
The region of Takure, in Nepal’s east, lost 99% of their homes. Through a long-term partnership, Conscious Impact is helping to rebuild this region, and I am going to help them.
Conscious Impact is an organisation that invites international volunteers of all backgrounds to join their camps and offer skilled or unskilled labour, financial donations, and compassionate service to local communities. Takure is their pilot project.
Their mission is simply “to connect people to themselves, each other and the earth through community service work around the world”
I chose to volunteer with Conscious Impact because of their deep commitment to sustainable living and sustainable development.
“The most accessible building material in Nepal is clay-fired bricks which account for 60% of the city’s pollution, cause extreme deforestation, and create unstable working conditions for locals.” – Conscious Impact
Conscious Impact has introduced a more sustainable solution, where volunteers work alongside local community members to produce Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks (CSEB). The earth blocks are composed of local soil, sand, and a small percentage of cement. With the support of hundreds of donors, volunteers, and community members these earth blocks have rebuilt 15 homes, a primary school, a community centre, and an orphanage.
The earthquake has provided an opportunity for Nepal to build back better, with collaborative efforts from the local and international communities. With climate change causing erratic weather conditions in the region, sustainable development is imperative to the reconstruction of these great Himalayan lands.
Photo below: Visiting rural villages in 2017, interviewing families who had yet to rebuild their homes which were destroyed.
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Throughout the 10-day program volunteers also work with the local community on regenerative agriculture initiatives, such as coffee, permaculture design, and agroforestry. In their first year of collaboration, Conscious Impact was able to invest in building a large greenhouse for the farmers, which led to the formation of an agroforestry program and a local coffee cooperative. Since its formation, 20,000 coffee trees have been distributed, with another 9000 planned for this year.
My role as a volunteer will be to work hand-in-hand with community members, learning from each other, to reignite the local environment with permaculture principles. I will live with a community of volunteers in a sustainable tented-camp located on beautiful rice terraces right in the middle of the village. Out of respect for the local community’s beliefs, we will join them in abstaining from meat and alcohol. We will sleep in tents, use dry composting latrines and have minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
Related reading: Using Earth Bags to Rebuild Nepal
This program resonates with me because I feel that it can make a truly lasting impact on the communities here for years to come. It is my third time in Nepal. This country has been nothing but generous to me and so I wanted to spend some time giving back to its people. After spending time in Kathmandu I know that Nepal is suffering. The construction efforts have caused waves of pollution across the once blue skies, making the city one of the unhealthiest cities to live in the world. If we have a chance to introduce more sustainable building methods then we’re not only saving the environment but saving the people as well.
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In order to make this fully possible and for Conscious Impact to continue to support sustainable, long-term rebuilding, I need your support. I am looking for donations to help support the work of Conscious Impact in Nepal. If you would like to be involved in this beautiful work, please visit my campaign page – https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/2016133
The placement commences May 5th. It’s time to get my hands dirty, see if this city girl can reconnect with nature and help to rebuild Nepal. I’ll be sharing my whole journey through Instagram and Facebook so be sure to follow along.
If you’re interested in volunteering with Conscious Impact, they run their program every month. You can find more details here.