When the massive earthquake shook Nepal in April, one thing was evident in the village of Trishuli — The Fuller Center was doing something right.
Even though the village’s 11 Fuller Center homes stood just 30 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake that registered 7.8 on the Richter Scale, they looked no different than the day they were dedicated. Meanwhile, most of their neighbors’ homes were either in rubble or were cracked and unstable.
Fuller Center leadership in Nepal and at the international headquarters in Americus, Georgia, agreed that earthquake recovery efforts needed to be two-pronged: One, more Fuller Center homes needed to be constructed in the Trishuli area, where the government immediately identified 150 local families as potential homeowner partners. And, two, local Fuller Center officials needed to share their successful building techniques so that others could replicate the success throughout Nepal.
This week, Fuller Center leaders in Nepal said that they have four homes under way, one of which is nearly complete, and they’ve selected their next 28 homeowner partner families. Meanwhile, they’ve also had their first major building techniques session in which they trained 35 masons in ways they can effectively build stronger, safer homes.
“With the monsoon rains of Nepal now lifting, it is uplifting to see the work of permanent reconstruction now beginning,” said Ryan Iafigliola, The Fuller Center’s Director of International Field Operations who visited Nepal in July and announced a plan to build 200 new homes in the Trishuli area.
“We’re doing it strategically — starting with training masons in anti-seismic construction techniques,” Iafigliola added. “These masons will work on not only the homes that we build but also on the homes that others will rebuild. Best of all, since we’re training them on the actual homes of Fuller Center families, it’s a very efficient system where no one’s energy or resources are wasted.”
Fuller Center President David Snell said the project in Nepal reflects the organization’s emphasis on utilizing partnerships wherever possible to help more families have simple, decent places to call home.
“A primary goal of The Fuller Center for Housing is to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action around the world in recognition of the fact that eliminating poverty housing is something that we certainly can’t do on our own,” Snell said. “This is playing out in an interesting way in Nepal. These masons will take their skills to their own communities and, as this program grows, thousands of simple yet solid houses can be build, greatly expanding on the 200 that we have committed to. This ‘loaves and fishes’ approach will have a profound effect on the tremendous housing need in Nepal.”