How do you measure the impact of ADVENTURE?
On April 25th 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake ripped through most of Nepal. It decimated historical landmarks, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and tragically killed over 8,000, whilst many more are still unaccounted for.
Mountain villages in the central highlands house the majority of the 26 million Nepalis. Reportedly, Gorkha and Dhading districts were most dramatically impacted by the destructive earthquakes and aftershocks. Both of these districts are highly populated areas in the central highlands.
Phulkharka, a mountain village in the Dhading district boasted a primary to senior secondary school that enticed hundreds of students from neighboring villages. Its agricultural science program was hugely popular in a largely subsistence-oriented rural society.
Education was their shining light to help improve the local economy and living conditions in the disadvantaged community. 32 classrooms bustled with over 750 students, many of which had ambitions similar to most students; to go to university and further their education.
The earthquake brought all but 4 classrooms to the dusty Phulkarka ground. With little economy, the village struggled to rebuild and it wasn't until a small investment put together by a local community group allowed students to return to school (albeit in temporary classrooms erected out of used timber and corrugated iron).
Did we mention we are at 1,400m above sea level? Well yeah, it gets cold. And even in the summer months, it isn't all smooth sailing. You can rely on the monsoon rains delivering an average of 351mm of rain per month at its peak.
32 classrooms required, 4 standing. Hundreds of students go without, whilst those fortunate enough are allowed to study in primitive shelters, which are nor educational facilities.
Education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future, and is critical to reducing poverty and inequality. If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. Imagine what power the provision of quality education can do for those that are currently not afforded the same privilege as the developed world?
Imagine not only restoring education to the students of Phulkharka but enhancing their outcomes and their understanding. Building a culture of entrepreneurialism and problem solving. Creative thinking and self management.
Maybe their road to the main town, a measly 45km away, wouldn't take the best part of 8 hours to traverse. How would this affect the local economy and their ability to shift their focus from subsistence farming to enterprise?
To stimulate the local economy by introducing world class trekking trails with views of Manaslu mountain range for days on end as trekkers slowly hike the ridge line from Pokhara hill? What effect would this have on the community?
Well, they are still dreams. But our action plan for Phulkharka has started. Our trip in January 2016 was a landmark achievement for THISWORLDEXISTS. With the help of Journey Nepal and Earthbag construction, we assisted in the rebuilding of 4 classrooms that would spawn the start of their new primary school and return the village children to the classroom.
With a comparatively small investment, our group of 14 adventure hungry volunteers have directly helped to change the lives of students now and long into the future.
Following up this group is another one in March, adding to the work we have started in January and continuing to help get these affected communities back on their feet.
THISWORLDEXISTS will continue to run trips to Nepal for many years to come to not only explore and adventure in arguably the most incredible mountains in the world, but also to help improve the lives of those doing it pretty tough.
Earthquake affected or otherwise.
Check out the upcoming THISWORLDEXISTS adventures here.