23 September 2019

Canberra Grammar School students help rebuild quake-damaged classrooms in Nepal

| Lachlan Roberts
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A group of 21 students, parents and staff helped rebuild classrooms devastated by the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. Photos: Supplied by Lou Nulley.

Canberra Grammar School students have volunteered their time, energy and labour to help rebuild four classrooms in Nepal during a recent trip to the earthquake ravaged country on the third anniversary of the 2015 disaster.

A group of 21 students from the age of 11 to 17, parents and staff assisted in the classrooms project during the 12-day trip.

Partnering with Canberra charity REACH for Nepal, the school also raised $10,000 that covered the cost of the rebuild.

The school’s head of outdoor education department, Ms Sue Donoghoe, said the work was very rewarding and a great experience for the students involved.

“The volunteers from CGS carried 1,400 blocks and moved 10 tonnes of sand and cement from outside the remote school’s boundary to the building site using makeshift utensils,” she said.

“They then mixed the cement and assisted in the laying of the large blocks, as well as painted doors and window frames.

“It was a great experience for our students and all those involved. It was very rewarding work.”

Co-founder and director of the Foundation, Lou Nulley, led the volunteers on their maiden trip to execute a community project, as well as a trek to Poon Hill, Annapurna region.

Mr Nulley said the homegrown foundation has completed 10 major projects to date in a number of villages, but the recent project was the biggest in terms of the number of people volunteering and funds raised, as well as being the first project sponsored by a school.

“The Canberra Grammar school trip provided students with a great experience; not only of trekking and learning some valuable life skills in arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it also exposes them to a different way of life and helping people in a very real and practical way,” Mr Nulley said.

“The kids were fantastic and they came with enthusiasm and were very keen to work, and it didn’t take them long to mingle with the school kids and play a game of cricket and soccer in the playground.”

Mr Nulley said the trip gave the Grammar students something which could not be taught or experienced in the classroom.

“We provided facilities and assets but they were also exposed to the Nepalese lifestyle and their happiness and hospitality. I know the students will walk away from the trip with something they will treasure for the rest of their lives,” he said.

“While they witnessed poverty at a material level, they also witness richness. Richness in culture, community life and the gratitude and welcoming nature of the Nepalese people.”

Mr Nulley said the Canberra charity would be providing opportunities for other schools and universities to take part in charity trips to Nepal.

“I think there is something special for young people from Australia traveling to Nepal on trips like this, and the REACH for Nepal foundation will be providing opportunities for other schools and universities to have similar experiences,” Mr Nulley said.

Find out what you can do to help the homegrown charity in the face of natural disaster and other tragedies by clicking here.

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