A deep and expansive experience
My first visit to Nepal was on a volunteer trip organized by The Small World – ( TSW ) to assist a village in Basa, Solukhumbu in building a school building for high scholars there. The 10 of us architects and designers worked each day with the local volunteers and skilled labors and TSW staff to construct the two-room earth bag structure. Every day we spent hours learning about our fellow workers’ lives, culture and experience. Every night we went home to our local families to witness domestic life and grow friendships with the people who would one day benefit from the project.
The experience was deep and expansive for me. I felt a direct connection to the people and could immediately see that I wanted to continue to be of service. I knew my professional skills could be useful in the region. After this wonderful trip with TSW, I continued to come back to Nepal for another year assisting with projects and then founded a nonprofit called Nivas (home in Nepali), alongside several dedicated US volunteers.
Together we have been working with TSW for the past 4 years to improve individual family homes in Solukhumbu. We worked with one VDC to help them ensure every household had a proper sanitary toilet, achieving their ODF status. Since the 2015 earthquakes we have been working together with a village to rebuild every home that was destroyed. So far we have rebuilt the homes of 41 families and are about to embark on another round of construction in the coming weeks.
To say the work has been rewarding would be a great understatement. Working with the local people, Karma and his staff and family, has opened many doors for me and brought so much joy to my life. It has been and hopefully will continue to be for many years, a wonderful partnership.
Executive Director, Nivas