Ten million people in Nepal – a third of its population – live in poverty. Many of them live in remote areas, without access to running water, sanitation facilities, gas supplies or a source of income. In ten years’ time, the Unica Foundation, headed by Daan van Vliet, has helped such basic facilities to more than 40,000 people in Nepal. Thanks to its efforts, children can get to school on time, living conditions have improved, and whole communities can think about new sources of income, for example high-value farming and tourism.
In the past week, I had the honour of representing CFP Green Buildings on a tour of five of these projects. We visited the longest-running project, in TangTing. The community there now has running water, and metallic improved cooking stoves have lowered the incidence of eye and pulmonary disorders, shortened food preparation time, and reduced the use of wood as fuel by 60%. Villagers have started to return from Dubai because circumstances at home have improved. In Kalika, we attended the celebrations marking the launch of a water project. Here, solar panels provide the energy to pump water more than 300 metres uphill; there is no other source of electricity. CFP is sponsoring metallic improved cooking stoves for 140 families in Tamu, a project being carried out by the Nepal Red Cross Society, Kaski District, the Unica Foundation and CFP.
The Unica Foundation has its own organisation in Nepal, headed by Ramesh Paudyal. These splendid projects are being carried out in cooperation with NGOs such as the Nepal Red Cross Society, Kaski District. I greatly admire this organisation and the Unica Foundation. Their workers are heart-warming people who see that basic facilities are made available in the most impossible places.
The Unica Foundation projects provide local people with the basic necessities. The next step is for them to earn money themselves, in their own villages, so that they are not forced to seek work in the Middle East, far away from their families. The money they earn there in a year’s time is less than a month’s salary in the Netherlands.
I hope that I will be able to initiate many projects in the years ahead and work with villagers to improve their living conditions and create many new businesses. I would like to ask our clients, partners and suppliers to include these charitable causes in their budgets for next year – it’s good for the people, it’s good for Nepal, and it’s good for your karma.😉