With Julie Balen from Scharr, I was guest of honour at the inauguration of a new water scheme in Pokharigaun village in Dhading District, Nepal. The village gave a wonderful welcome to University of Sheffield students and staff to the official inauguration of a water scheme, which is saving the people there hours of work carrying water up the hill from the spring. Julie and I, returning to Dhading for the first time since 2015 to staff the Masters Nepal field class, were representing the University of Sheffield Friends of Nepal group. The water scheme was funded by a donation to Focus Nepal by the group, from funds raised by the group of students and staff immediately following the devastating 2015 earthquake.
The earthquake hit days after the 2015 field class on Geography’s International Development Masters programme returned from Dhading District. Dhading lies between the earthquake epicentre in neighbouring Gorkha district and Kathmandu. Hearing the news of the destruction and loss of life in the communities they had so recently got to know meant students and staff gathering the next working day to work out what best they could do. A series of fundraising events followed and the sum raised passed their initial target of £5000 in three days. Within a few weeks, almost £15000 was raised.
This sum was shared between two long term partner NGOs working in Nepal, Phase Worldwide, and Focus Nepal. Focus Nepal was positioned to make the best use of resources in the communities with which we had been working. With immediate emergency response covered by the global outpouring of support, Focus Nepal channelled the funds to a project which not only addressed immediate issues of water availability following the earthquake, but also with sustained value for the community.