One year on from the earthquake that shook Nepal, Fifers and friends of the devastated country joined together on Sunday to mark the occasion – and raise money to help.
The walk, or cycle, around Loch Leven aimed to raise money for the Little Sherpa Foundation, a charity set up by former Falkland teacher James Lamb.
“I set up the charity initially in response to an avalanche that caused the deaths of 16 sherpas,” explained James. “My friend, a buddhist monk, told me about this dream he had about starting up a trekking agency that would give local employment and the proceeds would go to a charity.”
But on his next visit – being filmed by a Scottish filmmaker for a BBC programme about the charity – he was caught in the first earthquake and has now focused his efforts on supporting the people affected by the natural disaster.
“Sunday was great fun as well as helping to raise money for Little Sherpa Foundation.
“It is the end of an eight-week push to try to raise £25,000 to add to our pot and I know for sure we have reached that total after Sunday’s efforts.
“It was great to have Roderick Campbell in attendance as he has been incredibly supportive, as has my MP, Stephen Gethins, who has also attended various events.”
The afternoon event was followed by a fundraiser on Monday at Freuchie Primary School, where James’ wife Karen teaches.
“I went along and played Nepalese games and the kids had dhal bhat and chapatis to eat.”
The money raised will re-build eight houses that were destroyed in last year’s earthquakes. This means yet another 40 people will have a brand new house to live in ahead of the monsoon season.
“These eight families have been living in tents or similar for over a year,” explained James. “The youngest is two years old and the oldest 72. The money will also pay for all the five children concerned to receive scholarships to remain in education, which includes supplying them with new traditional Sherpa costumes.”
The next push is to raise $100,000 to build a prototype building which is earthquake-resistant, eco-friendly and affordable, as well as showing the local builders how to erect such a building.
The plans have been designed by Murray Kerr, an architect in London, whose expertise won him a Grand Designs award in 2015.
Ardent fundraiser and UK tourism minister Pashupati Bhandari admitted Nepal depends on tourism and, as well as re-building, they want to attract visitors back to the natural beauty of Nepal. “Our first need is tourists,” he said. “The one thing that will help this country is more tourists.”