WHEN earthquakes measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale hit Nepal on April 25 last year, Coventry man Jack Blundy watched from home as the devastation unfolded.
More than 8,000 people were killed and many more injured when buildings collapsed and villages were swallowed up by landslides, and when tremors caused avalanches on Mount Everest.
Now, one year on from the earthquake, 24-year-old Jack is on the ground in Nepal helping the humanitarian recovery efforts.
“I wanted to go to Nepal due to many reasons,” he said.
“I had heard a lot about the people; about how warm and welcoming they are.
“I also knew that the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) had been working here a long time and that the UK had good relations with the Nepalese which I hoped would benefit from the work we would be able to achieve.”
The former Finham Park Secondary School & Sixth Form student joined the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme and was sent to volunteer in Lalitpur, in the hard-hit Kathmandu Valley.
The scheme, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), sends young people on placements to work on development projects overseas.
Since the earthquake the DFID’s support has helped restore healthcare services for more than five million people living in affected districts; clear rubble from 43 unsafe public buildings and structures; support temporary displacement camps by improving infrastructure, drainage and road access; and providing psychological support to more than 22,000 people suffering from the trauma of the earthquake.
Jack’s voluntary work focuses around education and sees him working with the Rural Institution for Community Development (RICOD) in remote communities.
He explained: “Nepal is a developing country that also has a rich cultural heritage and whilst in large part that makes it the beautiful country it is.
“Education is often cited as one the keys to empower people and let them stand on their own two feet.
“Our work has a specific education focus, working through local government schools to highlight the importance of education and tackle issues and barriers in the way of children in rural Nepal getting the most out of their education.”
With a total commitment of £70 million to the earthquake relief effort, the DFID has been one of the largest donors throughout both the immediate response phase and the difficult winter season faced by Nepal.
Jack will return to his parents in Coventry when his placement is complete.