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CARE: Challenging time

With the Care Construction Challenge less than two months away, one of the charity’s workers describes how the fundraising event will help people affected by the Nepal earthquake.

Charity Care International has again launched its annual construction challenge. The outdoor adventure involves teams of work colleagues from across the construction industry competing across a marathon distance on foot, bike and by canoe.

Money raised from the challenge goes to fund Care’s life saving work to fight poverty and injustice in some of the world’s most vulnerable places.

Most recently Care has been involved in the disaster relief work in earthquake-hit Nepal. Care emergency shelter team leader Tom Newby spoke to NCE from the capital Kathmandu about how money raised for the charity has had a direct effect on peoples’ lives there.

“Care has its own internal funding [money raised] and within a few hours of the earthquake, allocated €150,000 (£108,560) so the Nepal office knew it had the money to get going,” he says.

The money from the challenge events is important, as for example, it enables teams of experts to be posted immediately after a disaster has struck, which is often the most critical time.

“We’re doing food distribution but then there’s the longer term plan of making sure that people have the seeds to replant”

Tom Newby, Care International

“The department for International Development in the UK has a rapid response facility which releases money in a few days,” says Newby. “If we had to wait for this money before we could get going, our response would be so much slower.”

Newby is currently on the ground in Nepal, distributing emergency shelters, water and sanitation kits and information about how to rebuild homes that will be more resilient for the future.

The team there is also working on funding proposals for grants to ensure that the work they are doing now can be extended and longer term projects can be put in place.

He says that the aid is making a real difference to people who have been left with nothing.

“What’s absolutely heart breaking is that in some of these places all their food stores have been destroyed and so they were picking millet out of the mud to try and get a meal together,” he says.

“We’re doing food distribution, but then there’s the longer term plan of making sure that people have the seeds to replant, so they’re not stuck for a long time.”

Time limit

In total, Care is hoping to provide around 10,000 kits to those most in need, before the monsoon season arrives next month. But the challenge of getting the aid to people is huge.

“We went to the Sindhupalchowk area and it was a four hour drive from Kathmandu to the local town, then another hour’s drive up into the mountains until we hit a landslide and then we had to walk three hours,” he says. “That’s by no means a unique situation.

“[To get the aid in] we can hire people to carry the aid, clear the landslide if we can, or use helicopters. Emergency shelter kits are 20kg so you can only carry one at a time. Tents are 55kg so they are out of the question.”

All of the shelters have to be constructed before the monsoon in a month, so the race is on, says Newby.

Care logo

This year the Care fundraising challenge takes place on 4 July in Carsington Water Country Park, close to the Peak District. Participants have been promised surprises along the route to test mental agility, communication skills and team work. For more about the Care Construction Challenge, go to www.careinternational.org.uk/get-involved/our-events/care-construction-challenge. The website also gives details about how to donate to the Nepal disaster fund.

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