Last month I had the pleasure of interviewing Pratik Karki and Trish Dixit, friends, teachers and earth bag constructors in Nepal with a vision that aims to assist in rebuilding the 700,000+ homes that were destroyed in the devastating 2015 earthquake.
When not providing value (ethics) education to the students of Nepal, Pratik and Trish have been working in remote villages of Nepal in the area of Earth bag construction. This warm hearted duo was driven to make sustainable change in their country after witnessing the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings, including homes and schools, and shockingly 2 years on only 5% of these ruined buildings have been rebuilt.
“Our people are in trouble and they need help. We can’t just wait for our government to jump in as it’s been 2 years already and people are still suffering. This is what inspired us to intervene. We went to many villages and have found that the villagers are very motivated to rebuild their homes. They have hope and we want to help them” – Pratik
Pratik and Trish are in the process of developing an Earth bag training centre in Kathmandu that will provide education and training in the area of Earth bag construction. They want to invite school students, members of the local community and even members of the international community to be a part of this movement.
Earth bags have recently been approved by the Nepalese Government as a legal form of construction. They are typically polypropylene bags filled with clay, soil and water, turning the contents into thick, strong mud. The bags are then stacked like masonry and tamped flat with barbed wire placed between each bag to keep it from slipping and keep the structure strong. The materials are often cheaper and more sustainable than common materials such as concrete and brick, which makes them a good fit for building in remote or low socio economic areas.
Strength is a key point when it comes to building in high seismic areas like Nepal. Earth bags are strong, cheaper to make and much easier to carry the materials, making it easier to reach remote areas. – Trish
The training centre will be the first of its kind in Kathmandu. The aim is to provide enough training to be able to implement Earth bag construction as a common way of building, with a large focus on rebuilding schools using Earth bags.
Pratik and Trish invite all of you to follow their journey and visit the centre if you are ever in Nepal. Each of us has the power to help make a difference and assist in rebuilding this beautiful country.