In 2011, Building Bridges Worldwide successfully completed an ambitious project in the Himalayan village of Gerkhu, Nepal, where a community center/medical clinic was constructed; one that would serve nearly 9,000 nearby residents in neighboring communities. We built close ties with the villagers and made lifelong friends. Several months later, the first baby was born there and the volunteers who had worked on the clinic were extremely proud.
Fast forward to April 2015, when Nepal was hit by one of the worst earthquakes every recorded. More than 8,000 people lost their lives, 21,000 more were injured and many homes were reduced to rubble. Many of the rural communities in the Himalayan range were especially hard hit, and unfortunately, in one district in particular severe avalanches followed the earthquakes, leveling all 98 schools. As the world’s media quickly moved on to the next big story, Nepal was hit by a major aftershock the following month and has been struggling to rebuild ever since. Nearly a half million people have been displaced from their homes. To compound the problem, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in all of Asia, and the world, and has very few resources to support a rebuild. Progress has been slow and will take years and likely, decades.
Knowing that the country still needed an enormous amount of help, Building Bridges quickly resolved to return to Nepal in 2016 to aid in getting children back to school. In late September of 2016, a team of volunteers traveled to the village of Katunje in the Rasuwa district to build an earthquake-resistant school that will get 200 students ages 4-12 back into the classroom, and give them a chance to change their futures.