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Local Victoria charity builds schools in Nepal, one brick at a time

The charity helps schools in rural Nepal that have been severely damaged by earthquakes and other natural disasters

As a developing nation, Nepal does not have the funds or infrastructure to deal with many natural disasters.

In response to massive earthquakes in the region that destroyed thousands of houses and schools and took the lives of over 9,000 people, local Victoria businessman Rob Tournour started Another Brick in Nepal (ABIN) in 2015.

Since then, ABIN’s primary objective has been helping rebuild schools by partnering with local communities that needed the help the most.

During the first few years, ABIN realized that, while the earthquake had brought much global attention, there were already many children in need of access to education in decent buildings prior to the quake. Later, ABIN decided to broaden its mission to supporting all Nepali children’s right to have access to a proper education.

After identifying the need, ABIN board members started working with locals in Nepal to find the right project where they could make the most impact. With their Nepali project manager, Parshu, they found a small village, only a few hours’ drive from the capital Kathmandu, that had been devastated by the earthquakes.

Bandhevi Primary School was ABIN’s first school project. They raised money with the help of people from Vancouver Island and completed the school in January 2018.

ABIN then became a registered charity in February 2018 and has continued to find schools in rural Nepal that have been severely damaged by the earthquakes and other natural disasters, such as the monsoon season, which kills hundreds each year.

These schools receive very little government funding and must raise money within their local communities. These communities are very poor, and many families survive on subsistence farming.

Sharada School was ABIN’s next project—a large school with over 450 students, where the two-storey building had been deemed unusable post-earthquake. This project started in 2019.

This initiative was followed closely by Him School, which started in late 2019.

Both schools were successfully completed in the later part of 2020, despite massive delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its effects on Nepal were enormous as it is a country whose income primarily comes from global tourism, and most citizens do not have any savings.

ABIN held its fourth annual fundraising event on Nov. 20, 2021, at the Victoria International Marina. Money raised will fund building a school and living facility for the deaf students at the Mahendra School in the Sankuwasaba region of Nepal.

There are currently about 20 children in the program who live and study in a small, poorly built structure. They must live at the facility and share cramped living quarters since travelling and commuting from far away would be impossible.

ABIN has committed to building a new school and living space. This construction will give the children enough room and high-quality facilities to improve their well-being and education. The building is estimated to cost approximately $110,000. With the help of ABIN’s incredible donors and sponsors, mostly people and businesses from Vancouver Island, this target was exceeded, and the 2021 fundraiser raised $130,734.38.

Funds raised at the event will enable ABIN to build its fourth school with foundations scheduled to start in January 2022. This project is unique in that it will be ABIN’s first volunteer build, enabling people from Canada to go over to Nepal and participate in the building of the school. This opportunity will give people a chance to meet the local Nepalis and see the meaningful impact these projects have on changing the lives of children.

With the incredible success of ABIN’s event, the charity organization is also partially funded for building the fifth school, which they hope to start in late 2022 or early 2023.

If you would like to join ABIN in Nepal next year, please email info@anotherbrickinnepal.com. For more information about what they do and how you can help, visit www.anotherbrickinnepal.com.