Progress Update, September 2015


Written on September 13, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

Unlike the immediacy of the devastation after April’s earthquake, progress towards recovery in Nepal is gradual. Dadagaun village has formed a Rebuilding Committee comprised of four village representatives, including School Principal, Dhorje Tamang, plus Steve Webster from Shivapuri Cottage and Lilu KC, employed as a Liaison Officer for Go Philanthropic in Kathmandu. Lilu takes minutes and distributes them to several groups such as Dadagaun Village Project who are donating to the rebuilding effort. It has been decided to expand the committee by the addition of two female village representatives.
The initial meeting in August discussed information from a questionnaire we developed to gather insights about each household in Dadagaun and their rebuilding needs: family members, employment status, type of house (free-standing or semi-detached), home to single or multi families, rebuilding needs, etc. 100 forms were filled out by villagers and neighbours. The committee decided on criteria for support, prioritising homes that have collapsed and need rebuilding, above those that just need repairs. The committee undertook responsibility for purchasing building materials and distributing them according to the agreed criteria. The villagers will be made aware of the levels of support and will be required to sign for receipt of materials. Transparency, accountability and an unbiased, criteria-driven approach were recognised as being of utmost importance.
It was agreed that an engineer needs to be involved for assessment and advice. Preserving the aesthetics and character of the Dadagaun village was also considered important. This is a truly valid point as it is vital to attract tourism back to Nepal and Dadagaun offers a unique village experience within easy reach of Kathmandu.
Perfect timing for Tom Crees to arrive! Tom is an architect and project manager and has a deep connection with Dadagaun through his decade of living there in the 1990s – 2000s. Tom has been rallying support for rebuilding in Dadagaun through Rotary Clubs in his home town of Goulburn, NSW, Australia. Tom attended the second meeting of the Dadagaun village rebuilding committee on 4th September along with local engineering colleagues and representatives from Kantipur Rotary Club, Khatmandu. At this meeting it was decided to develop a map of the village with the houses numbered. The map will incorporate information from the questionnaire along with results from a recent assessment undertaken by the Nepalese government, rating village homes on their safety for occupation. It will also include photos of the physical damage to homes such as Tom’s photos included in this post.
Tom raised the concept of a modular house design using steel frames that can be easily transported and assembled by untrained people – similar in concept to the “flat-pack” approach. It could be used for single or two storey dwellings, with verandahs, or traditional barduli, which are functionally important spaces for village life. He also raised the issue of trying to incorporate smoke-free cooking areas, bathrooms attached to the main house, roofing insulation, and solar powered electricity and water heating. While these innovations will raise the health and comfort levels of village life considerably, costing will be a critical issue.
It was decided that a local village committee be formed to be responsible for decisions relating to the many physical/building issues that will arise. This team should involve representatives from the lower, middle and upper village zones and youth volunteers to assist with heavy lifting etc.
The Kantipur Rotary Club is willing to become actively involved through liaison with the local committee, a means to transfer funds and an offer to undertake health camps.
The brick making machines will soon arrive in Kathmandu and Steve has payment, import and customs issues under control. A job well done! The challenge ahead will be how to incorporate the “lay-person-friendly” steel frames Tom has suggested with the “lay-person-friendly” reinforced compressed earth bricks. We are lucky to have architects and engineers on the team! More as it comes to hand.
PS. Our Aussie/ US fundraising dollars are quietly earning interest in a dedicated bank account – $100 extra dollars to date!

Earthquake Relief Fund


Written on April 30, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

Please consider supporting The Dadagaun Village Project earthquake relief fund to rebuild village homes. Every dollar received will be transferred directly to our bank account in Nepal to distribute to those most in need.


Progress Report – Fundarising, Brick machines and other things


Written on July 11, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

Congratulations DVP supporters. We have raised an amazing $AU 21,400 to contribute to rebuilding in Dadagaun village…way beyond our initial expectations!
Dhorje's house.quake 2
Our local fundraising has been bolstered by $AU 8,300 from the USA, the most recent event organised by Upslope Brewing Co and Global Works, raising over $AU 5,200. Awesome, you folks! Our colleagues in the UK/ Nepal (Escape2Nepal) and the USA (Trek of Your Life, Annatta World Health and Education Outreach, Go Philanthropic Foundation) are also busy fundraising and collecting impressive donations. Together it’s looking like we’ll soon be approaching six figures for Dadagaun – a phenomenal team effort!

The next step is assessment of needs in the village in order to distribute aid equitably. There are 72 houses most of which we are told, need rebuilding. We remain hopeful a representative with a background in development or building can visit Dadagaun and assess the situation on the ground. In the meantime we have developed an application form for the villagers themselves to identify what they need. We are looking at employing a local person for admin support during this information gathering phase. It’s a start in a long complicated process and any offers of expertise will be welcome. It is unknown when to expect any financial assistance from the Nepalese government and how much that might be.


Thankfully, the orphanage in Dadagaun is being well supported by other charities and rebuilding is nearly complete. The villagers have managed to construct temporary shelters from tin sheeting and tarps. Not optimal during the current monsoon rains and unlikely to be comfortable during January and February, the coldest months of winter with low temperatures consistently around zero. Therefore, our focus will now be on rebuilding village homes – supporting families to stay together is a priority for DVP. There are too many abandoned children in Nepalese orphanages already.
The purchase order for 4 mechanical compressed earth brick-making machines has at last been placed. Steve Webster from Escape2Nepal has spent hours following through the whys and wherefores to make importing from China possible – without paying an arm and a leg for customs/import duty. The advantages of these machines are:-
Brick making.11234965_10152916967433284_2521370878672158322_n
~ they use recycled earth from the mudbricks of the old dwellings
~ the villagers can make and stockpile bricks themselves on site, without electricity
~ the addition of 10% cement to the crumbled earth makes for a super sturdy brick
~ the shape of the brick allows for reinforcement with concrete beams horizontally and steel rods vertically through the walls, thus increasing the earthquake tolerance of the building.
~ the bricks will interlock so mortar may not be necessary, reducing cost and need for skilled labour.
~ building costs will be significantly reduced compared to buying concrete blocks, the alternative to the previous fragile stone and mud conglomerations.
~ aesthetically, mudbrick cottages will be more appealing than concrete houses and more authentic to unique traditional Nepalese building style. We will try to encourage traditional decorative timber features as well. It is important to support local culture and attract tourists back to once again embrace Nepal.
Here is a Dropbox link to a video of the brick making machine being used:
Below is a Youtube video of a house being constructed using the bricks:

Heard about Tom? He’s in the loop! Tom Crees lived in Dadagaun from the mid 1990’s until 2005. An architect and project manager who built what is now Green Valley Resort in Dadagaun, Tom is rallying to the cause gathering support from Rotary Clubs in Goulburn, NSW and their sister club in Kantipur, Nepal. Hopefully Tom will be able to make a visit to Dadagaun and help to co-ordinate the rebuilding effort – perfect skill set. Tom has a deep knowledge of the village, the people, their thinking and their lifestyle and he has contacts to assist on the ground. Another very welcome partner in the growing network of support for Dadagaun.11053172_981898515194595_5565828084915564072_n

School resumed mid-June but the children were too nervous to go inside the building. Their parents insisted they have classes in tents even though the school structure sustained zero damage. Entirely understandable emotions with the daily, quite significant aftershocks. The rock wall between the upper and lower playgrounds tumbled in places and is being replaced by a railing fence. Many thanks to Food4Everyone for providing USD1,000 for this. Last week the school building was officially certified as being safe and now only the youngest continue to have classes in tents.

Looking ahead, the tremors seem to be diminishing with days in a row having no aftershocks. Hooray! There is much to co-ordinate… we will plod on with diligence and devotion. Always happy to hear your point of view. Contributions continue to come in – we are starting to receive full money tins for “a Dollar a Brick” campaign. Entertainment books will continue to raise money for DVP until the end of August. If you want to take advantage of the bargains please go to
Other pledges of support have come from a Brisbane law firm and a Gold Coast Rotary club. It is feeling very positive from this end. Just wish we could relieve the daily discomforts of the villagers more quickly.

Dadagaun Village needs our help…


Written on July 11, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

In the wake of Nepal’s devastating earthquake the small pretty village of Dadagaun has suffered substantial damage. The orphanage and many village homes, including the headmaster’s, have cracked and crumbled walls, holes in roofs, damage which has left them completely unsafe to live in. In the words of the orphanage manager: “Our bulding is very badly damage and is make rock in to soil”.
Miraculously, no serious injuries have been reported. However, now the people are sleeping outside under makeshift lean-to’s and tarps. The ground is hard and damp, the rains of an early monsoon adding to their discomfort and fear. Landslides are a threat and aftershocks from the earthquake rumble on daily. These are people who we have assisted for nearly a decade to advance their living standards and their kids’ education. They are poor and without resources. We cannot turn our backs on them now. They need immediate help. Please donate to the Dadagaun Earthquake Relief Fund.
The Dadagaun Village Project Facebook page has updates.

Orphanage.11.Steve .Hour of grief. innocent hand of solace. Voice of Sikkim Orphanage.12.Steve


No Trivial Matter


Written on May 31, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

Fundraising at St Joseph’s Nudgee College on Friday night 29th May, 2015 gathered almost $8,000 (AUD) for rebuilding in Dadagaun Village. Can you believe that? 110 supporters raised $3,300 in table sales for Trivia, $2,200 in donations and the rest in “bucket money”, auctions and raffles. It was a super night with laughter and camaraderie flowing.
A.Paul's FB pic.recropped.11329942_10155601408425433_7291669415440752445_n 5.cropped

Sincere thanks to Nudgee College for welcoming us to their beautiful campus and to Mark Ellison, Paul Cazza and Jo Barrett for their assistance with perparations. We are indebted to those who donated prizes and cash donations and to all who gave so freely on the night. Thanks to Trivia Mill for your professional hosting, to Awards and Trophies (Milton) and Events Cinemas for the winners’ prizes. And congratulations to Team Cazzanators who won the competition so convincingly!
The night came about after the Immersion trip for Year 11 students to Dadagaun in June had to be cancelled after the earthquakes. It is with great hope that confidence can be restored in tourism in Nepal and another trip can be organised for Nudgee students in the future. 2.(1).cropped 4.cropped

A Dollar a Brick


Written on June 2, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

EQ money tins.small
Would you like a money collection tin?
We are looking into purchasing mechanical brick making machines from China that the villagers can operate themselves. They use mud from the old broken bricks plus a portion of cement for extra strength. There are many concerns that temporary rebuilding measures will become permanent sub-standard housing. Like the slums that have developed in Haiti. Nepal doesn’t need that. They have such a beautiful architectural tradition that needs to be re-ignited. They need to attract the tourists back!
Our first tin has been returned from my parents’ retirement village, Elements, in Springwood south of Brisbane. Great effort…they raised $93.30!
Please email if you would like a tin posted to you.

Sharpen up your wits for Nudgee College Trivia Night


Written on May 13, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

Orphanage games for blog
St Joseph’s College, Nudgee has kindly offered to host a Trivia night on Friday 29th May to fundraise for rebuilding in Dadagaun Village. Tables of 8 – 10, $300 per table with games, competitions, raffles and auctions – it’s guaranteed to be a night of friendship and fun. To book a table simply use the Paypal Donate button above using your name + TRIVIA as the reference.

St Joseph’s College teacher, Paul Cazzulino has been involved with Dadagaun Village Project for three years. He volunteered at the village school in 2013, teaching for eight weeks, mentoring the English teacher and introducing innovations such as a Sport’s Day, teaching outside the classroom and excursions away from the school. He has returned to Dadagaun on two more occasions, most recently in 2014, taking along St Joseph’s teacher Jo Barrett. Along with colleague and longtime DVP supporter, Sarah Robins, Jo was instrumental in introducing a Perceptual Motor Program to the early childhood classes. Paul supports annual scholarships for the Year 7 students going to secondary school.
Together Paul and Jo were planning to take a group of year 11 students from St Joseph’s College to Dadagaun for an Immersion program in July 2015. Jayne, who travelled with Jo and Paul last year (see below under New Year in Nepal), was to sponsor the two Dadagaun early childhood teachers on a visit to Brisbane for them to experience Australian prep classes. Sadly for everyone, due to the recent devastation, these wonderful opportunities will not take place this year.
Hope you can make it to Trivia at Nudgee. It’s going to be awesome! BYO alcohol and snacks, soft drink and water available. Bring all your compassion and plenty of cash!

Fundraising idea – Entertainment books


Written on May 8, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

What a great idea. Thanks Janine for putting this together. Don’t just buy one… these books make wonderful gifts too!
All Australian and New Zealand supporters…I am selling Entertainment Books as a fund raiser for the Dadagaun Village Project. Books cost between $55 and $65 depending on desired region and are packed with discount vouchers for a wide range of eating places etc. 20% of each sale goes directly to the Project. Books are available either for an electronic download or as a hard copy. If you are in Brisbane you may chose to collect hard copies from me…those in other areas/states/countries will have to factor in a postage charge ($10.50-$15). There is no charge for electronic download…wherever you may live. To purchase a book visit the following link: …please share with your friends..the more we purchase the more we raise. Thank you, Janine

Fundraiser in Colorado


Written on May 8, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

Nepal Earthquake Fundraiser
Tuesday, May 12 at 6:00pm in MDT
3635 Buckeye Ct. Boulder, CO 80304
Proceeds to Dadagaun Village Project.
See Facebook page for more info.

New Year in Nepal


Written on April 29, 2015 by Chrissy & Kurt

April heralds the arrival of the New Year in Nepal. It’s 2072 this year. A strange concept for us to come to grips with – especially when we visit and consider we are stepping into the future (the last time I had a birthday in Nepal I turned 114!). The village looks more like a slip into the past with its hand-farming methods, until you spot a satellite dish and gang of teenagers with mobile phones.
With the New Year brings a new academic year and two new secondary scholarships. Recipients to be announced shortly. We have been very fortunate to have continuing support from Nancy, Audrey and Barry in the US to fund these scholarships at USD 200 per year for school fees, books and uniforms for the 5 years of secondary school. It will be great to see what the recipients do once they graduate from high school – will our efforts have made a difference?

The last few months have slipped by without reporting on progress. Sorry! PAUL, SARAH, JAYNE and JO had a highly successful trip to Dadagaun in September. They certainly were shakers and movers! Here is a taste of their achievements:-
Jaynes pickies.IMG_6291
1. Floor coverings were laid in each room – thanks to a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Coomera and Sarah’s efforts to organise the purchase and delivery. Carpet with underlay in the Nursery and Kindergarten rooms and vinyl in the other classrooms. Little by little the classrooms have evolved from the concrete bunkers I visited in 2007 to colourful, clean, well-maintained hubs where children come to be inspired, discover and learn. The floor coverings plus project work, art and educational displays on the walls, apart from looking sensational, help dampen the noise, which as anyone who’s visited a primary classroom knows, can be considerable at times.

2. The early childhood curriculum blossomed under Jayne’s careful watch with an emphasis on interactive teaching, hands-on experiences, age appropriate goals and theme based curriculum. It is now an organised and planned approach to early childhood development and the teachers “get it”. They had lots of opportunity to watch Jayne, see the children immersed in activities and practise new teaching styles themselves. It was a perfect complement to the introductory training they have had with the local Early Childhood Education Centre during the year.

3. A comprehensive Perceptual Motor Program was developed and implemented by Sarah and Jo. The youngest classes now start their day with purposeful, brain-training physical exercises to help develop co-ordination, balance, strength, visual tracking skills, listening skills, turn-taking, concentration. And it is fun! Bean bag toss, animal walks, jumping, balance beam walking, using hoops, ropes and buckets to step in and over.

4. Lots of extra curricula activities were organised like a bus trip to the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu. Paul showed that it can be done. Hire a bus, choose a destination, gather sufficient adults and have a great day out. A wonderful opportunity exists for others to do this. There are dozens of places of interest, culture and history in and around Kathmandu, excursions are a win-win for tourist and village children alike.