THE ONGOING RENEWAL OF EARTHQUAKE-RAVAGED NEPAL: MEXICALI BLUES IS HELPING TO BUILD AN EARTHQUAKE-SAFE SCHOOL IN SOTANG
At Mexicali Blues, we’re spending January focusing on renewal, with a magical, mindful, month-long recalibration of our bodies, minds, homes and relationships, and we want you to come along! Today, we’re finding inspiration from our friends in the earthquake-ravaged regions of Nepal who are continuing to rebuild and restore their homes and communities in the face of incredible challenges. It is our great honor to help them.
After the devastating earthquakes in the spring of 2015, over two-thirds of the homes and community buildings in the remote and economically disadvantaged village of Sotang, Solukhumbu, were either destroyed or unsafe to live in. Almost 80% of the Himalayan community’s schools were gone. Just one month after the earthquakes struck, however, the dedicated volunteers of the dZi Foundation had fashioned Temporary Learning Centers (TLCs)—rough classrooms made from roofing tin—as a stopgap solution. The dZi Foundation built these shelters in part with the help of Mexicali Blues customers, who generously supported communities like Sotang through our Prayer Flags for Nepal campaign last year.
But almost two years later, the government of Nepal has yet to start rebuilding essential community infrastructure in many poor and remote areas like Sotang. (The settlement is one-and-a-half day’s walk from the nearest drivable road or airstrip.) Many teachers have had no choice but to return to dangerous, condemned buildings to teach their students. So once again, Sotang has turned to the dZI Foundation for help.
The dZi Foundation is the only aid organization actively working in extremely remote areas like Sotang and they make a nine-year commitment to each community they invest in. This long-term, sustainable, “deep development” approach makes a tremendous impact that will be felt for generations. And in harmony with their pledge to stay and serve the community, they are determined to build school that will last. Working with all relevant government bodies including the Department of Education, The Ministry of Building and Urban Design and Nepal’s National Reconstruction Authority, they have designed an earthquake-safe school built from light gauge steel trusses over a locally sourced stone masonry foundation. This school will be the only earthquake-safe building in Sotang, and parents can send their children to this beautiful and functional building in complete confidence. The Himalaya Primary School will provide a safe, clean, spacious learning environment for 37 students in kindergarten through grade 5, and will serve thousands more over its useful life.
When Mexicali Blues heard that dZi had answered the community’s call we also renewed our commitment and made a significant contribution to this wonderful cause. The community of Sotang is also stepping up in a big way to make this happen. Despite the high costs of material and labor and the complicated logistics, the community has committed to contributing 13% of the project budget in local materials and labor—an enormous and inspiring commitment considering that most villagers still lack permanent homes of their own.
As part of their upcoming buying trip, Pete and Kim have prioritized purchases from Nepal to help to strengthen the country’s shaken economy. They have also set aside one week to make the difficult journey on foot into Sotang. “We love getting off the beaten path whenever we travel,” Pete says, “and this is a beautiful area trekkers rarely see. We can’t wait to visit Sotang to see the progress on the school’s construction.”
Kim wants Mexicali Blues customers to know that they played a big part in building this school as well. “Your Mexicali Blues purchases are what powers our corporate philanthropy, so thank you for helping us help the dzi Foundation and the people of Sotang,” she says. “We’ll be sharing photos and our thoughts from our journey with you right here!”
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