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Inspiring South African making a difference & rebuilding Nepal after the earthquakes


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On the 25th of April 2015, a magnitude 7,8 earthquake hit Nepal & changed the lives of its people forever.

A group of travellers were in Nepal when the quake struck. During the weeks that followed they found themselves delivering aid to some of the worst affected areas. Despite assisting numerous families with food & other much needed supplies; they wanted to create something that captured the events of this terrible disaster, continued to create awareness & raise money even after they had moved on.

Gareth Pickering was one of those travellers… he doesn’t consider himself a handyman – in fact, he had not built much more than a sandcastle before the earthquake.

But in the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal, he was involved in constructing more than 20 homes for people who have lost everything – and has raised more than R160000 in aid.

After selling his business, Durban-born Pickering had spent the past year travelling in Europe & western Asia. Since October last year, he and a friend, fellow Durbanite Simon Lawrence, have been based in Nepal, where they have done various treks, including to Everest Base Camp.

Pickering and Lawrence, both in their 30s, were 100m from their hotel when the earthquake struck. Debris fell around them as the ground shook violently, though neither was harmed.

Over the course of the next few days, the reality of the devastation began to hit home. The men felt they could not stand by and do nothing.

“Nepal has been good to us. The people are absolutely amazing. We’ve been able to do and see such wonderful things. We needed to do something,” said Pickering.

“We started building temporary houses for people. There were six teams of about four people each. At first it was just manual labour. There were huge piles of rubble that we had to move, and while we were doing that locals were going through the rubble to try and salvage anything that was left,” said Pickering.

Pickering once owned his own marketing company and Lawrence’s background is in IT programming.

“Someone asked me, ‘What are your skills?’ I replied, ‘Excel and Microsoft Word.’ They just handed me a shovel,” said Pickering, laughing.

After the dust had settled, Gareth & his team knew that they needed to create something that could assist the people of Nepal & create sustainability in the long run.

The Nepal425 project was born with the idea to create a collaborative photography book for the people of Nepal.

The book will feature images collated from amateur & professional photographers of all nations. Captured before, during & after the events of4/25, the team will create a work of cultural & topical relevance that will be showcased worldwide through the book & associated with exhibitions.

Nepal425 will not only show stories of tragedy, loss & destruction that have hit the headlines all over the world. It will display the resilience & strength that Nepali people are so well known for.

The plan is for the book to not only show the aid & relief the country has received, but the people standing up & rebuilding their homes & their country together.

“Nepal remains one of the worlds most beautiful countries, the Quake hasn’t changed that.”

“With your help, the country will have a brighter future than the past they’ve left behind.”

If you want more info about the Nepal425 project… click here.

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A personal crusader on a mission to empower through the power of positive thinking. Activation Architect | CliffCentral Unradio Host | LeadSA Hero | Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South African | #RAK15 founder

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