25th Mar 2018
Fundraised to date$0 $10000
In the weeks following the 2015 Earthquakes, Active Hearts gave over 4500kg of rice and 200kg of lentils as emergency food. The rice fields are usually sown around the beginning of July, but the irrigation lines were damaged and rendered unsafe. Access to water became a major area of concern. It became apparent that if the rice was not planted soon, then the following winter many thousands of villagers would be left to starve. During a good year, the foothills of the Himalayas are hammered by heavy rains resulting in land and mudslides. The broken and cracked terrain left by the quakes increased this danger.
Arjun explains, “Our water supply for our fields comes from about 3km away. We dig open trenches to channel the water from its source. The land was damaged and we were afraid of causing landslides. Many villages are below ours and they would be in danger. But, without water we can’t grow rice, then we have no food for winter.”
Remote villages in Nepal such as Gogane, cannot depend on the government to provide utilities and facilities. These small villages will usually have a village committee and a community leader elected by the people. They make decisions for the benefit of the community and put into place processes to make things happen. Arjun and Dan put forward an idea to the village committee proposing to build a solid pipeline of roughly 1.2km to safely transport water from a seasonal source to the top of the village. The resulting water would benefit several villages with roughly 2000 people. Active Hearts would fund this project.
Dan, Arjun and Gokul made a trip to the pipeline factory in Balaju, Kathmandu. Designs were drawn up and an estimate of USD$15,000 was made to complete the project. The pipe chosen was the most expensive, but of the strongest quality. It was given a lifespan minimum of 30 years. Back in the village construction began with roughly 80 families working dawn to dusk for 7 days to cut down trees, build rock walls, dig trenches and carry stones that would support the pipeline, all by hand. The route was built with a dual purpose; there was now a safe path to access the jungle above. These families were also asked to donate to the cause.
Dan’s reasoning, “We found it was important that the people themselves take ownership for the project. They would be building it and they would be expected to manage and maintain it.”
The family donations raised about 120,000 Rupees (approximately 8% of total cost). This was given to the local primary school that was destroyed by the earthquake to assist with its rebuild.
The Active Hearts’ pipeline was completed around mid-May. It was a huge success! Now, a safe supply of water is delivered to the village fields and the project itself had proven to be a great community bonding exercise as well as a distraction from the horrible events that had taken place.