Golden Bay char­ity helps quake vic­tims

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - NINA HINDMARSH

Over 70 Nepalese chil­dren whose schools were de­stroyed in the 2015 earth­quake are back in the class­room, thanks to the kind­ness of one Golden Bay char­ity.

The not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, Golden Bay Friends of Nepal, raised the funds to pay for the con­struc­tion last year of the Golden Bay Friend­ship Acad­emy, in the quake-stricken cen­tral Nepalese vil­lage of Bhum­lu­tar.

Founder Taj Ra­bosky from Po­hara said the school had seen many suc­cesses since its open­ing, with its stu­dents now learn­ing cour­ses in English, com­put­ers and or­ganic agri­cul­ture.

‘‘The kids who are com­ing reg­u­larly are so ex­cited and mo­ti­vated to learn,’’ he said.

‘‘They are like sponges and they show up at six o’clock in the morn­ing to sit at the front of the mat with their pen­cils sharp­ened.’’

He said 62 stu­dents had com­pleted a ba­sic English course. A do­na­tion of used lap­tops had also seen 35 pri­mary-aged stu­dents com­plete a ba­sic com­puter course, and nine se­nior stu­dents had com­pleted an ad­vanced one.

‘‘I think this whole project has been a tes­ta­ment to the Nepali peo­ple. We pro­vided them with some fund­ing and ideas and the vil­lage ba­si­cally built the school for free in six weeks,’’ he said.

‘‘Re­gard­less of how chal­leng­ing life is, and how many dif­fi­cul­ties or earth­quakes are thrown in their way, they have this in­grained hap­pi­ness and sim­plic­ity.

‘‘They have re­ally dif­fi­cult lives in com­par­i­son to the av­er­age New Zealan­der, but they still have smiles on their faces and hap­pi­ness in their hearts.’’

The vil­lage was de­stroyed by the April and May 2015 earth­quakes that killed nearly 9000 peo­ple na­tion­ally and de­stroyed more than 84,000 homes.

To date, only five per cent of the houses in Nepal have been rebuilt, with many ru­ral vil­lages be­ing left be­hind.

Ro­bosky, who lived in Nepal for two years prior to the earth­quake, orig­i­nally set up the char­ity to help his Nepali friend Bhu­pal Kharel re­cover and move on from the dev­as­ta­tion. Kharel and his wife are the school teach­ers at the acad­emy.

But what started as a do­na­tion of emer­gency sup­plies has since evolved into the com­mu­nity project, now a reg­is­tered not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion with the Nepal Govern­ment.

Ra­bosky said it had two other Golden Bay res­i­dents help­ing with fundrais­ing and plan­ning, Kees Brinkman and Rita Scholten.

A group of nine vil­lage res­i­dents had vol­un­teered to rep­re­sent the lo­cal com­mit­tee in Bhum­lu­tar to help ad­min­is­ter the lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion it had set up and make de­ci­sions to de­ter­mine how to best help in the lo­cal vil­lages go­ing for­ward.

School teach­ers Kopila (left) and Bhu­pal Kharel with char­ity founder Taj Ra­bosky.

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