Safe Water and Sanitation for Chalish Gaon, Nepal by Danielle

Danielle is one of our travel2change community members situated in France. We have asked her a few questions about her project idea submitted to our idea challenge. It’s truly a great project and Dani has very touching comments.

What’s the project idea about? Why is this project important for the local communities?

“Chalish Gaon is a remote village of approximately 60 households in Nepal, accessible only by walking three days through rough terrain. There is only one water point for the entire village which becomes contaminated during the monsoon season, and no toilet facilities currently exist. This project aims, in close collaboration with the villagers, to protect the existing water delivery point from contamination, to increase the number and quality of water delivery points and to build two toilets at the elementary school, in addition to providing education on hygiene practices to the villagers, so as to improve their overall health and livelihoods.”

How do you know about the described problem?

“Eighteen months ago, I trekked through the Ganesh Himal Region of Nepal with an alternative trekking homestay program and was warmly welcomed in this village, which was home to my mountaineering guide and sherpa. I spent a morning teaching in the primary school and was touched by the enthusiasm of the children. I witnessed firsthand the dire need to improve living conditions for this population, which is more or less forgotten by the central government and civil society. Upon my return home, I felt a responsibility to make every effort to guarantee a minimum of human dignity for this community that adopted me. It has culminated in the present project.”

What’s your personal interest in this project?

“This project represents just a drop in the ocean for what needs to be done in so many areas of Nepal and around the world. I wish to show that with positivity and perseverance, even one person can make a difference to a whole village, and that sort of energy can be inspiring and infectious. I think Gandhi said it best: Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

How do you think can travel2change help you with this project?

“The Travel2Change Idea Challenge first of all provides exposure for the project, and I‘m keeping my fingers crossed that additional financial and human support will be generated from this experience. I will be very grateful for any contributions that will help make this dream a reality.”

How can you ensure sustainability for this project?

“The villagers have all already pledged their support for the project and will give their time and energy, led by the headmaster of the school and my mountaineering guide. The project includes a training and education activity so that a better understanding of risks and practices can be perpetuated. In addition, Nepal Water for Health, an NGO based in Kathmandu, has also already consented to be a partner in the project if we are able to secure adequate funding for it. I would also like to encourage the villagers to share what they learn with neighboring villages.”

Anything else you would like to share?

“2011 has been declared the Year of Tourism in Nepal. Indeed, improvement of water and sanitation facilities would also increase the village’s attractiveness as a home-stay destination for Himalayan trekkers in this remote part of Nepal, which was opened to visitors only quite recently, thus improving their sources of income and their livelihoods.”

Dani, thank you very much for your interview and the amazing photos! Your project is truly inspiring and we wish you good luck with it!

If you want to support Dani’s project go to http://www.travel2change.org/idea.php?id=57 and vote for her and the villagers of Chalish Gaon, Nepal!

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