Channel Feature: Community News

Local building firm tackles Nepal charity project

Local building firm Court Construction are heading to Nepal to volunteer on a charity project for First Steps Himalaya (FSH).

First Steps Himalaya is a New Zealand based charity that believes every child deserves a good start in life. It works in partnership with disadvantaged communities to promote early childhood development and quality education in schools.

Cam and Tracey Court of Court Construction had visited Nepal and were drawn to the country and its people. “Despite having nothing, the Nepali people are incredibly friendly and generous. After our last visit we knew we wanted to go back and do something to help, but we weren’t sure what at the time” says Cam.

After making contact with First Steps Himalaya they determined that the best way to help was to build an earthbag Training and Education centre.

“FSH work incredibly hard and they are making a real difference to improving the standard of education in rural Himalaya. But a major stumbling block is the lack of teacher training. Teachers are often untrained and ill equipped to offer quality education. On their ‘wish list’ was a desperately needed Education and Training Centre,” says Tracey.

FSH believes that over time the centre will become a leading training hub for teachers from around the region.

Peter Hillary provided this encouragement for the project. “Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries and education is fundamental to helping children get ahead. This earthbag Education and Training Centre will be a real asset to this community and to assisting with turning disadvantaged kids into educationally advantaged young people. We wish you all the best with your fundraising and look forward to updates on your earthbag build. Good on you guys!”

Court Construction have completed the design and FSH have secured the land for the centre. They are committed to raising $60,000 for the construction and fit out.

“So far we’ve raised $40,000 through fundraisers and the generous donations of trade suppliers,” says Cam. “But we still need to raise another $20,000, so we have further events planned for the new year."

The centre will be constructed out of earthbags. Earthbag buildings can be built simply and quickly with readily available components. In addition to being earthquake resistant, they are constructed using local, natural materials, which lowers both the cost and the high level of pollution commonly associated with the manufacture of bricks.

“People who would like to help can buy earthbags. Just $20 buys a bag, and every earthbag purchased gets us one step closer to getting the centre built. It’s a very worthy cause and we’d love any support to help these disadvantaged kids,” says Tracey.

Court Construction is taking a team of 11 volunteers to work on the build in March 2015. If you’d like further info on the project go to http://www.courtconstruction.co.nz/nepal/
 

By Aidan Bennett
aidan@benefitz.co.nz
Twitter:  @AidanLBennett
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Channel Magazine: Issuu 50 December 2014 | January 2015

Features articles by Aidan Bennett