Golden Bay charity helps quake victims
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.