In April 2015, an 8.1 M earthquake rocked Nepal that swept through the Kathmandu Valley triggering avalanches on Mount Everest and in the Langtang Valley. The earthquake took the lives of over 8,000 people and injured more than 21,000. Tremors and major aftershocks could be felt for months afterwards, and hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless and lost their livelihoods, making it hard for the people of Nepal to have certainty of their future.
Tourism is such a powerhouse for the economy of Nepal, and it’s the largest source of foreign exchange and revenue for the country. Many rely on tourism in this country, and we at G Adventures knew that it was our role to help our friends in Nepal, bring tourism back to this country.
Within 24 hours of the quake, G Adventures launched a campaign to raise funds for those affected by the earthquake. Our focus was to bring immediate relief and long-term rebuilding efforts to those that relied on the tourism industry as their primary source of income. Our campaign focused on supporting long-term rebuilding efforts to support porters, homestay hosts, local guides and our sisters at SASANE (link to project page or previous earthquake post).
In two weeks, G Adventures had raised over $200,000 CAD from our generous extended family – our travellers, donors, friends & family, and our partners from across the world. It was inspiring to see these donations and well wishes for our friends in Nepal sent from all corners of the planet. We heard from over 35 countries. Thank you.
With the funds raised we were able to mobilize immediate emergency efforts to our sisters at SASANE to pack vehicles that were sent to rural villages in the Langtang Valley – the hardest hit area of the earthquake. These vehicles were packed with fuel, salt, popped rice, fresh water, blankets and tarps, and our sisters distributed these supplies to over 900 families in Nuwakot, Sindhapalchowk, Kharipati, Bhaktapur, and Ghyangphedi.
Planeterra, G Adventures, and our ground partners formed a task force – working with a local engineer who had previous experience constructing properties with earthquake preventative methods. This task force evaluated applications for rebuilding homes from porters in the Everest region, homestay hosts, local guides and our SASANE sisters, and dispersed re-building grants dependent on need to 152 family homes. Our focus was to support families who were reliant on the tourism industry, and had no other means of income or support otherwise.
With the remainder of the funds, Planeterra and G Adventures invested funds to bring long-term tourism back to the area, as the creation of jobs would be critical for communities in the months and years ahead. We worked with our partners to support an indigenous Tharu community just outside of Chitwan National Park to develop a local community homestay program, and helped outfit this village with water tanks and a solar panel grid so the community would have access to hot water and electricity throughout the winter. We also supported the development of a second SASANE Sisterhood of Survivor site in Pokhara, and within 3 months started running G tours through this location to bring back income, jobs, and hope to this organization. Both sites are now hubs of support for women across the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, providing vocational training in the hospitality industry, outreach support for women coming out of trafficking, and long term job support for so many more girls. We are happy to see the success of this organization being recognized globally, and last year, with Planeterra and G Adventures’ support, SASANE won the United Nations World Tourism Organization Award for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism in a non-governmental organization.
It’s been incredible to watch the teamwork and resilience this country has gone through. Nepal is back up and running with so much to offer. The best thing you can do to support this country is to go visit. The people and our friends are waiting to show you how amazing and special this country truly is.