Travel

Canberra charity REACH for Nepal determined to make a difference

A Canberra charity set up in the wake of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal is quietly raising money for much-needed restoration work and giving Australians the chance to work on local community projects, the Canberra Times reports.

Founded by Canberra trekking enthusiast and yoga teacher Lou Nulley and Nepalese-born Lachhu Thapa from The Hungry Buddha restaurants in Curtin and Belconnen, REACH for Nepal has also just finalised a sponsorship arrangement with Singapore Airlines to carry a limited amount of donated goods to Nepal for free when volunteers travel for a project.

The charity has also appointed 2016 Olympic gold medallist Kim Brennan as its first ambassador, a position she is “incredibly proud” to hold.

Entirely run by volunteers, REACH for Nepal’s priority is supporting people in remote, isolated areas of Nepal who have not been reached by other agencies. The areas are often only accessible by foot.

Anyone who participates in the trips treks for five days and spends three days working on a community project.

Each participant pays their own way and all money raised goes directly to projects for the Nepalese people. The trip participants are also asked to raise at least $250 to go towards a project.

On-the-ground work planned for this year includes building classrooms and helping with the production of school bags by people with disabilities in Nepal.

“There are not too many things in life where you can make a real difference, but this is one of them,” Mr Nulley said.

“It’s a fairly intense eight-day period but the experience is so rewarding. The people there are so grateful for the work that we do.”

“Almost without exception, people describe it as a life-changing event,” he said.

REACH for Nepal, meanwhile, stands for Rebuilding, Education, Assistance, Children/Communities (giving) Hope for Nepal.

Source – Canberra Times

The Buddha Odyssey is set to organise their third Yoga, Trekking & Community Trip to Nepal in 2017

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Yoga Pathways & The Buddha Odyssey are again coming together in Oct 2017 and organizing another trip to Nepal from Canberra.

The trip will again focus on the Community Project in conjunction with Reach for Nepal Foundation, while also providing travellers the experience of trekking the Annapurna range & Hatha Yoga wherever possible.

Lou Nulley, yoga instructor at Yoga Pathways & co-founder/director of the foundation leads such a trip each year to Nepal alongside Odyssey tour leader Raju Thapa. Over the years, Lou and Raju have developed a special working relationship and delivered very successful trips.

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Lachhu Thapa, the co-founder/director of the foundation is also keen to join the tour group this year. Lachhu is excited to be going back to Nepal with family and finish off the project in Annapurna village.

The travel group raises funds for the project before they head off to Nepal.

BHAKTAPUR KATHMANDU VALLEY NEPAL - APRIL 8 2014: People walking near Nepalese temples in shape of pagoda at Durbar Square

The tour starts in Kathmandu, with sightseeing of major attractions of a 2000 year old valley. We then head to picturesque Pokhara where we spend another couple of days. From there we embark on a trek which sees you walking up to 5 hours a day on a route that’s less popular with tourist – making the experience more authentic whilst absorbing the mesmerizing views of the Himalayas.

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The 5 days trekking leads you to our Community Project where you will spend another three days working on the project and spending time with villagers, school teachers and students. Yoga is incorporated on the trip where ever practical. We then head back to Pokhara and fly out to Kathmandu for last minute shopping before our flight back home.

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Historically these trips are fully booked, as participants enjoy the blend of trekking the Himalayas at a relaxed pace, making a real difference in the lives of many people through the community project and maintaining a sense of equanimity through regular yoga sessions.

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The cost of the trip is around $3790 (to be confirmed around Jan 2017) including international airfares, accommodation and most meals.

To lock in a spot please contact us by filling this form

Namaste

Lachhu Thapa

UNESCO enlisted heritage site – The Boudhanath Stupa reopens in Kathmandu

An "eye" is seen behind the prayer flags during the prayers to purify the Boudhanath stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

An “eye” is seen behind the prayer flags during the prayers to purify the Boudhanath stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year’s earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

The Boudhanath Stupa, one of UNESCO-enlisted heritage sites in Nepal which was severely damaged by an earthquake last year, was reopened for public Tuesday after completing reconstruction.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal inaugurated the newly rebuilt 36-meter-tall Boudhanath Stupa at Boudha area of the capital city Kathmandu.

An aerial view of Bouddhanath Stupa, acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Kathmandu, in April 2016. The ancient stupa which was  affected by the April 25, 2015 earthquake is being rennnovated. Photo: Keshav P. Koirala

An aerial view of Bouddhanath Stupa, acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Kathmandu, in April 2016. The ancient stupa which was affected by the April 25, 2015 earthquake is being rennnovated. Photo: Keshav P. Koirala

The Prime Minister thanked the entire international community, including neighbouring countries China and India, for extending financial support to reconstruct the ancient Buddhist shrine.

The Boudhanath Stupa was the first heritage site to complete renovation after a devastating earthquake hit Nepal 19 months ago, claiming over 9,000 lives and left thousand others injured and a lot of buildings damaged.

Boudhanath stupa is silhouetted against the sun during the prayers to purify the stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Boudhanath stupa is silhouetted against the sun during the prayers to purify the stupa ahead of its opening on November 22, after it was renovated following last year’s earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters

The reconstruction, which started only two months after the earthquake, took 17 months. The cost stood at 230 million Nepalese Rupees.

Reconstruction of other heritage sites damaged by the earthquake was still underway or just in the early stage, authorities said.

Buddhist monks performed purification rituals for the completion of the renovation on Nov. 18.

A young girl poses for a photograph in front of Boudhanath Stupa, during its purification ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. A three-day purification ceremony has been organized to purify Boudhanath Stupa, which was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, after the completion of its reconstruction. The Stupa will officially open to the public on Nov 22. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

A young girl poses for a photograph in front of Boudhanath Stupa, during its purification ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. A three-day purification ceremony has been organized to purify Boudhanath Stupa, which was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, after the completion of its reconstruction. The Stupa will officially open to the public on Nov 22. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Boudhanath, the largest stupa in Nepal, is considered the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside China’s Tibetan Autonomous Region, making it the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu.

Thousands of domestic and international visitors come to visit the shrine annually.
Source – Xinhua

Community Project, Yoga & Trekking Oct 2016

 

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Lou Nulley, co-founder of the REACH for Nepal Foundation (RFN), and Raju Thapa recently led a group of 10 people from Australia on another successful trek in Nepal, culminating in a community project in a remote area of the country in conjunction with The Buddha Odyssey.

Prior to the trip the group had raised around $3500. Together with funding from RFN, the team funded and helped to rebuild a library at the Hari Prasad school near the Khara Ko Mukh village.

The library was demolished by recent earthquakes and flooding. The facility is a key requirement to assist in the education of the children in this remote region.  The headmaster of the school and the school board were grateful for the team’s contributions, galvanizing the community as parents, teachers and villagers came together to assist the rebuild project.

The team included people from NSW, Victoria and the ACT. After trekking the Annapurna Range for five days absorbing spectacular views of the Himalayas, interspersed with regular yoga sessions to stretch the body and to remain present on the journey, the team enthusiastically arrived at the school to begin the rebuild project.

We were overwhelmed by the generosity and welcome from the community and children at the school.

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Don’t forget about post-earthquake Nepal, Reach for Nepal founder urges

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Almost one year after the devastating Nepal earthquakes, Canberra’s Lachhu Thapa says villages in the hardest hit regions still need Australians’ support to rebuild.

CANBERRA, Monday 28 March 2016 – After a fundraising tour to the epicentre of the 2015 Nepal earthquake earlier this month, the founder of aid organisation Reach for Nepal, Lachhu Thapa, has urged Canberrans to continue their support for the earthquake-ravaged nation.

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Six adventurous Canberrans joined Lachhu to rebuild a water tank in a remote school in Nepal’s Gorkha district, just kilometres away from where the earthquake did the most damage. The trip was organised by Himalayan tour company The Buddha Odyssey to raise money for the Reach for Nepal Foundation. It was the first rebuilding tour coordinated by the two organisations. While rebuilding efforts will take years, even the Gorkha district is open for business. Lachhu says the best way to support earthquake recovery is through tourism.

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“The media coverage that Nepal received in the West after the earthquake was horrific. It showed the fear in the Nepalese people because they hadn’t experienced an earthquake of this magnitude in generations, but on the ground things are different” he says.

“Nepal is rebuilding. After the quake, it lost its greatest income source: tourism.” Lachhu says highlights of his most recent trip including camping in a village for four nights and getting his hands dirty building the water tank. “It was great to see the smiles of kids running around, hearing the village elders say ‘Namaste’ to acknowledge our work and the festival atmosphere during our four-day stay. “It was an authentic cultural experience and a showcase of Nepal’s welcoming hospitality despite incredible hardship in recent months,” he says.

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For less adventurous locals, Lachhu says they can support Nepal in two ways:

  1. Joining the foundation for a screening of Australian documentary Sherpa on 31 March

Reach for Nepal has organised a fundraising screening of Sherpa on 31 March at 7pm at Manuka’s Event Cinemas.  Tickets are $20 with all profits going directly to the foundation. Go to the Facebook event page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1743639255868583/

  1. Attending The Hungry Buddha’s next fundraising dinner on 5 May 2016

The previous dinner raised $5100 for the Reach for Nepal Foundation, and the funds were used to buy water tank materials for this month’s rebuilding trip. Call (02) 6285 2425 to book.

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About the Reach for Nepal Foundation

In April 2015, Nepal was devastated by the region’s worst earthquake in 80 years. The 7.8 magnitude quake and its aftershocks killed over 8000 people, flattened villages and left thousands injured. As one of the world’s poorest countries, Nepal can’t rebuild alone. This is especially true for rural and remote villages where access to aid is limited.

The REACH for Nepal Foundation is a registered charity that provides practical and financial assistance to rural Nepalese communities affected by the earthquake.https://reachfornepal.org/

12th Elephant Festival held in Nepal, to promote tourism

The five-day fair was organized by the Regional Hotel Association of Sauraha to promote tourism in Nepal. An elephant race, a bullock cart race, a horse cart race, elephant soccer, an elephant beauty pageant and various cultural activities will be held during the event.

Source – The Himalayan Times

Elephants vie for a ball during a football game, which is a part of Nepal's annual international elephant festival in Sauhara, Chitwan on Saturday December 26, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/ THT

Elephants vie for a ball during a football game, which is a part of Nepal’s annual international elephant festival in Sauhara, Chitwan on Saturday December 26, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/ THT

An elephants trying to eat bananas placed on the table during the 12th international Elephant football festival in Chitwan, Nepal on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

An elephants trying to eat bananas placed on the table during the 12th international Elephant football festival in Chitwan, Nepal on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

A woman tourist riding on elephant back gets water splashes at Rapti River in Chitwan district on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

A woman tourist riding on elephant back gets water splashes at Rapti River in Chitwan district on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

Feet and trunk of an elephant being decorated for a beauty contest during the 12th International Elephant football festival in Chitwan, Nepal on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

Feet and trunk of an elephant being decorated for a beauty contest during the 12th International Elephant football festival in Chitwan, Nepal on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

A mahout bathes an elephant at Rapti River in Chitwan, Nepal on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT

A mahout bathes an elephant at Rapti River in Chitwan, Nepal on Monday, December 28, 2015. Photo: Skanda Gautam/THT