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Utah Organization Helping Rebuild Schools in Nepal

PHOTO: A nonprofit organization in Utah is helping build temporary schools in several areas of earthquake-ravage Nepal. Photo courtesy of CHOICE Humanitarian.
PHOTO: A nonprofit organization in Utah is helping build temporary schools in several areas of earthquake-ravage Nepal. Photo courtesy of CHOICE Humanitarian.
June 15, 2015

WEST JORDAN, Utah - Utah-based CHOICE Humanitarian is helping to rebuild schools in Nepal following the massive earthquake and strong aftershock earlier this spring that killed more than 8,000 people.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck April 25 destroyed an estimated 4,500 schools, said Christopher Johnson, program manager for CHOICE Humanitarian - just in the areas where his organization works. He said efforts now are centered on building temporary but strong school structures out of bamboo and tarps.

"They have, for $150 or $200, a schoolroom in place that will last for the next year or two while they're trying to stabilize and really be able to rebuild with earthquake-proof buildings," he said.

It will take several years and a huge chunk of Nepal's economic resources to rebuild the country's devastated infrastructure, Johnson said. The earthquake is also blamed for obliterating about 800,000 homes.

Johnson said CHOICE Humanitarian was in a good position to help Nepal rebuild because it has been working in the country since 1999. Whether building schools, accessing clean water or economic development, Johnson said his organization's mission is helping people in impoverished communities become self-reliant.

"And really the biggest progress that is going to happen is where local people are solving their own problems," he said, "and not sitting there waiting for the international community - or even their federal government - to come and solve it for them."

Johnson said CHOICE Humanitarian does similar work in Kenya, Mexico and Central and South America.

More information on CHOICE Humanitarian is online at choicehumanitarian.org.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT