Evaluation Visit to Nepal
This week Deputy Carolyn Labey, Chair of Overseas Aid took part in an evaluation visit to Nepal, accompanied by Richard Lewis of the Jersey Gurkha Welfare Trust and Dick Richomme, Team Leader for JOA’s 2017 Community Work Project to Nepal.
On Saturday, April 25, 2015 a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, just northwest of the capital of Kathmandu. It was the worst quake to strike the region in more than 80 years. The area was hit with a second 7.3 magnitude quake just 17 days later, on May 12, causing further damage and suffering for those who had survived the initial disaster. JOA has partnered with various agencies over the last three years, including the Gurkha Welfare Trust assisting Nepal in rebuilding schools, medical facilities and providing emergency relief to victims of the Earthquake.
The visit began on Wednesday with the team meeting staff from the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, the field delivery arm of the Gurkha Welfare Trust. In addition to its relief work for Gurkha veterans, the Trust supports Community Aid projects for the wider Nepalese population. It has built 137 new schools and runs an extensive renovation programme for dilapidated schools, improving access to education for over 550,000 Nepali children since the programme began in 1989.
The group, accompanied by Lt. Col. John White – deputy director of the Gurkha Welfare Scheme Earthquake Response Team, and Capt Bhakta Bahadur Rai then travelled to the Lamjung District where they inspected the Indrakamal Community Centre, Pyarjung and the Balkumari Community Centre, Ilampokhari to asses Community Work project options and establish wider links with the community.
On Thursday, Carolyn Labey was honoured to be invited to speak at the opening of Shree Gyanjyoti Higher Secondary School, one of the oldest learning institutions in Gorkha. Before the earthquake the school had been running 22 classrooms, teaching over 500 children from 24 villages. The school was destroyed during the earthquake but 14 temporary shelters were set up, so that teaching could continue. The Gurkha Welfare Trust raised funds for reconstruction, and a grant of £40,243 was approved by JOA to assist with the rebuild. Including the team in the opening ceremony was a great privilege, further strengthening links with Jersey.
During the visit Carolyn Labey was also able to attend some of the previous and ongoing projects funded by Jersey Overseas Aid including ‘growing communities – smart solutions for Nepal’s poorest farmers’, a Practical Action project.
Other projects funded by JOA in Nepal include ‘Sustainable livelihoods for people with mental illness’ run by Basic Needs and World Vision’s project to ‘Improve livelihoods and nutrition’.