On the 25th of April 2015, the impossibly beautiful mountainous nation of Nepal was quite literally rocked to its core as a huge 7.9 magnitude Earthquake struck just 80km northwest of the capital, Kathmandu. The quake claimed the lives of over 9,000 people, a third of them children, injuring 21,000 more and leaving over 2 million people homeless. The tremors felt on that day in the Himalayas were so great that Mt.Everest actually moved 3 centimeters! One year on Nepal is very much not on the road to recovery…
Nepal has always held an iconic stature as being a sort of Mecca for adventure travelers and ‘thinking outside the box’ tourists looking for something truly special. The country boasts 8 of the world’s Top 10 highest peaks and the tourism trade in Nepal contributes over 10% of the country’s $20bn GDP. However, all of this changed 365 days ago when tragedy struck, sending the country into what will be years of hardship, suffering and recovery.
We are unfortunately not all David Beckham, who’s incredible work since the tragedy deserves every bit of your respect, but where there is a willingness to help those in need, there is always hope. A year on there are still different ways big or small that you can help this nation of humble, brave and friendly people in their hour of need.
The fact of the matter is that, yes, given its location and recent history repeat tremors are a possibility but Nepal also happens to be one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring places on Earth.
Many of the World Heritage Sites closed in the aftermath of last year are back open and accepting tourists again however the annual numbers of visitors to Nepal has been crippling to their economy as the primary source of income for many has been decimated. So many are affected, from the tour guides and Sherpa’s who operate in the upper reaches of the Himalayas to the local taxi drivers & restaurant owners in Kathmandu whos seats are hauntingly vacant since the quake.
There are so many wondrous adventures to be had in Nepal which will stay with you long after you’ve left and knowing how much of a difference you’re making to people who’s lives have been quite literally ruined will make it all the more special an adventure.
An even more rewarding experience is to not only visit Nepal in 2016, but to do so while directly helping those most in need. USIT offer Volunteer Programmes from 2-12 weeks in 7 different types of projects – from Childcare and Teaching to much needed Construction. There are volunteering sites all across the country allowing you to choose where you feel you can make the most difference and directly help accelerate the country’s recovery from the 2015 quake.
It goes to show the nature of Irish people then that, Nepal is our most popular volunteering destination in 2016 with availability in July almost full! There are still a small number of opportunities still available however, contact our Volunteer coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
Two of our volunteers from last year, Eve & Orla told us about their experiences volunteering in Nepal and at how the disaster made them both more determined to make the trip. Their story is a truly inspiring one and absolutely worth the read as they stayed for a full 12 weeks, bringing back with them memories to last a lifetime.