Fundraising tour operator, Charity Challenge, has launched a community challenge expedition to Nepal that will give travellers the opportunity to help re-build the country, a year on from the devastating earthquake.

On 25 April 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated large areas of Nepal, taking the lives of over 8,800 people and injuring three times this number. More than 3.5m were left homeless, entire villages were flattened across the country and centuries-old UNESCO World Heritage buildings were destroyed. 

Global aid and help came quickly, but travellers were told not to visit the country until the situation had stabilised. Finally, in March 2016, FCO warnings against all but essential travel to Nepal were lifted, paving the way for Charity Challenge to launch its ‘Nepal Community Challenge’, which will take travellers to the rural Gorkha region of Nepal – the epicentre of the earthquake – in February 2017, to help build schools.

Over 27,000 classrooms were destroyed in the earthquake so participants of the ‘Nepal Community Challenge’, will have the chance to soak up the country’s charm and help to get children back into safe school buildings. The new itinerary is a 10 -day altruistic adventure, providing the opportunity to physically build schools and raise thousands of pounds for the Pahar Trust Nepal – the local NGO behind the re-building work. Charity Challenge’s aim is for each group on the new itinerary to raise sufficient funds to build an entire school.

“Nepal has been devastated, first by the earthquake, then by a fuel shortage, and to add insult to injury, tourism, which is a major contributor to the country’s GDP, has taken a huge hit,” said Simon Albert, Director of Charity Challenge. “Nepal was already one of the poorest countries in Asia, before the earthquake, and the people have really been hit hard.” 

“By encouraging people to visit Nepal, we’re aiming to increase employment opportunities in the country’s tourism sector and stimulate tourist spending. The work undertaken on the challenge will literally help re-build schools, communities and subsequently the prospects of Nepal’s next generation.”

The 10 day challenge has several departure dates, the first of which is 10 February 2017, and starts with a flight to Delhi, India, followed by a connecting flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. A challenge leader will brief volunteers after an afternoon spent at leisure. On day three, volunteers will travel from Kathmandu to Gorkha, the village that will be their base for the next week.

From days four to eight, the challenge will involve working in teams to help on the construction of a new school. Tasks will include digging foundations, chipping rocks, lifting and laying blocks, rendering walls, mixing cement, concrete or render, sieving sand, moving materials around the site and setting window or door frames. Volunteers will never be asked to do anything outside of their physical capabilities and team work will be encouraged at all times.

Volunteers will camp during their time in Gorkha, with breakfast served early in the morning. Once on site, lunch, water and snacks will be provided, and the evenings will bring a chance to relax. There will also be plenty of opportunities to enjoy local cultural activities.

After spending time in the community on the morning of day nine, participants will transfer back to Kathmandu for a final night in a central hotel. The group will return to the UK on day 10, via Delhi for a flight to London.

To participate on the “Nepal Community Challenge”, volunteers must pay a deposit of £500 and raise £2,975 in sponsorship. This will cover international flights, two nights in hotels and six in camps, all meals, internal transfers, a first aid-trained challenge leader and construction supervisor and all medical backup. 

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