Tibet Matters 2020: Bakhang village, building a school and 14 houses

Bakhang village and its surroundings are home to approximately 2,000 ethnic Tibetans. Located in a mountainous area of Nepal on the border with Tibet, the village is so remote that it isn’t marked on Google Maps.

Two earthquakes in 2015 devastated the village. The school and many of the houses were destroyed, leaving the villagers feeling desolate. Thanks to your generous donations, we worked in partnership with Build Up Nepal to rebuild the local primary school and 14 houses for the most vulnerable families.

In-depth community consultations, facilitated by Build Up Nepal and the local Jamkyong Association, revealed an urgent need for a permanent health post to serve the communities of Bakhang and nearby villages.

Currently the nearest health post is 15 km away, which takes about three hours on foot or two hours off-road in car to reach. This means most people only seek medical attention in very serious cases, sometimes with fatal consequences. With your support construction of the health post is underway and we are hoping for it to be completed by the end of August. The Bakhang community will soon have access to regular check-ups, disease screening, first aid and basic medical procedures.

A holistic approach is vital to sustainable community-building. Your donations have also allowed us to support the salaries of the two Tibetan teachers in the village, as well as supplementing school meals with eggs, milk and fruit every week for the school children. Plus a little extra for special festival meals for everyone.

We hope this will contribute towards a healthy and happier Bakhang!

Environmental Impact

All the new buildings are made as sustainably as possible whilst ensuring they will withstand any future tremors. In fact, the building process reduces emissions by up to 60% compared to traditional fired bricks!

The earth bricks are made by the villagers from a combination of sand, cement and locally-sourced soil compressed in a special machine. They are cured for 21 days, rather than being fired, which means no harmful burning. The interlocking earth bricks are then reinforced in a single-storey earthquakeresistant design.

We are proud to announce this year these building methods were recognised by the UN for their environmental benefits, with Build Up Nepal winning the 2020 UN award for Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals!

Women & girls

It was essential to involve the whole community in the consultation and rebuilding efforts. The women and girls of Bakhang played a central role in this.

The villagers were trained to make the earth bricks, giving them transferable skills for the future. The women became leaders in this and now earn their own money through other enterprises and initiatives using bricks. This has given them independence and income generation skills.

Accessible healthcare offered by the health post will free up the disproportionate share of women and girls’ time currently spent caring for the sick. This will enable them to study, work and pursue their own goals.

Lack of access to basic healthcare has also had a greater negative impact on women and girls. In one case a nun died because she assumed severe abdominal pain was menstrual pain and didn’t seek help at first. Sadly she died on the road to the hospital. Not only will the health post make such tragedies a thing of the past but there are also plans to run regular training for the villagers on first aid, menstrual health and maternal and child health.

Stay informed!

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