E2E: Cycling to rebuild schools and repair communities in Nepal

An enchanting fusion of breath-taking landscapes, cultural riches and great history, Nepal’s beauty is of an intensity few nations can rival.

As a people, the Nepali are renowned for their warmth, selfless nature and a strength befitting of a society that has evolved in the embrace of the Himalaya and in the shadow of eternal Mount Everest.

Machhapuchare

However, for the last 12 months this proud nation has had its resilience tested to the extreme.

At midday on April 25th 2015, the country was struck by a massive earthquake. It registered a 7.8 magnitude and sent destructive tremors through neighbouring Tibet, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Tibet was the worst affected country outside Nepal, while for Barpak, a Nepali village at the quake’s epicentre, the chaos was absolute. In Sindhupalchok, one of the worst hit regions, 3430 people lost their lives and 1,200 perished in the Kathmandu valley. To the north east, climbers fell beneath the deadly avalanches that plagued Mount Everest.

Sindupalchowk ruined school 2

 

In the aftermath, an aid distribution hub was set up in Singati, 140 km northeast of Kathmandu. Those who were  able journeyed to the town in search of relief, but worse was to come.

KTM collapsed houses

On  the 12th May, a second earthquake struck nearly as fierce as the first struck. At its epicentre, Singati, 200 aid-seekers were buried under a landslide. Singati bazaar, once a vibrant cultural and commercial centre, was obliterated.

The tragedy plays out time and again across Nepal, where thousands are still without the most basic of life’s requirements: shelter; power; clean water and food.

According to Unicef, 1.5 million of those suffering are children, while the United Nations has said that around a quarter of the country’s population – around 8 million people – have been affected by the quakes.

The humanitarian disaster in Nepal is no less dire than that in Syria. Unlike Syria, in the media spotlight due to war and global politics, Nepal has been forgotten. Amid overwhelmed relief operations, disaster and suffering are stagnating.

YYY Foundation

The YYY Foundation (registered charity 1164116) is among the organisations working to bring desperately needed relief to the people of Nepal.

The foundation provides grants to buy life essentials for citizens of this disaster-struck nation; things like food, clothing, bedding, fuel, tools and livestock. YYY also directs money it raises into training, medical treatment, and the building of new homes and community centres.

Many schools were destroyed by the Nepal earthquakes, depriving thousands of children of the chance of basic education.

YYY is committed to building schools across worst-hit regions, as it strives to restore hope and a brighter future for its people.

The foundation is staffed and run entirely by volunteers who pay their own way in Nepal. As such, 100% of the money raised goes directly to funding each project.

Sukute school kids 3

e2e Challenge: Cycling to rebuild schools and repair communities in Nepal

In partnership with the YYY Foundation (registered charity) the third of the Leadership Challenges has launched e2e Challenge, an expedition that sees 20 cyclists and supporting crew ride a 400km route across Nepal from east to west.

Starting from the second epicentre site at Singati in Dolakha, we journey west through the five worst hit districts of Nepal to the site of the first epicentre at Barpac. The first expedition to connect this route, e2e Challenge will follow dirt tracks and ancient trade paths through the stunning terraced foothills and small hamlets of the Himalaya.

Most importantly, the expedition will visit YYY Foundation school rebuilding projects that will be funded by the e2e Challenge.

With unprecedented access to remote communities, riders will encounter the resilience of the Himalayan people as they live with extreme poverty, malnutrition and the destruction of their homes.

There is no doubt the challenge will be physically and emotionally tough and riders will need to use their untapped reserves of strength to complete the expedition successfully.  However, riders will also have the opportunity to witness first-hand the positive contribution they are making to communities along the way.

The aim

e2e Challenge aims to build five schools in villages that the cycling team will pass through as they travel from epicentre to epicentre.

Sindupalchowk bridge

When?

e2e Challenge begins on 28th October 2017. After the stifling summer and before the perishing cold of winter, temperatures at this time of year will be mid-range, around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Approximately one month after the monsoon, roads will have had time to dry without being sun-baked and dusty.

The autumn is also time of great cultural significance. In this, the harvest period, the Nepali celebrate Tihar, the Festival of Lights.

Why?

Little aid is getting into Nepal, while much of the nation’s limited infrastructure was ravaged by the quakes.

e2e Challenge will give a unique opportunity to reach people whose lives have been destroyed. The project will generate funds to build new schools while raising awareness of a humanitarian crisis that has been neglected by the world’s media.

We have the chance to show the Nepali people that they have not been forgotten and that hope exists.