From the very outset we have strived to ensure that we have provided support for the people in rural Nepal. Indeed, it is within rural Nepal that the ‘heart and soul’ of our wonderful country exists. Nepal in the 21st Century still remains by and large a country of rural villages and small, close-knit communities.
In developing our wonderful accommodations, not only have we painstakingly preserved “at risk” architectural heritage, we have worked closely with the communities where our accommodations are based to ensure both prosperity and sustainability can be brought.
“Building a Future by Reclaiming the Past” has long been our mantra.
More and more people are migrating to the cities of Nepal in search of opportunity and with that the unique, rural historical architecture is now severely at risk of being lost forever.
The challenge for us was to not only endeavour to preserve, but also to create an ongoing legacy. A way in which our painstaking efforts in restoring some fine examples of Nepal’s proud heritage would also lead to a revitalisation of the local economy too.
It could certainly be argued that we were “quite mad” in undertaking such a venture. It seemed like we had thrown the usual “business rules” right out of the proverbial window.
Neither Bandipur or Nuwakot were on the “tourist map” of Nepal. Even now, most guide books don’t include Nuwakot. Who in their right mind would consider creating tourist accommodation where tourists don’t go?
Well, the answer is we did and now 15 years later our “madness” has been proven to have worked beyond all doubt.
It was never going to be easy. We knew that, but there was logic as well as that all important belief in what we were endeavouring to achieve.
In restoring some fine, old buildings the process itself provided much needed employment for local artisans, which leads to some immediate prosperity within the local community.
However, we were conscious that this would only be temporary. So, we ensured ongoing local benefit by ensuring that much of the staffing required was drawn from the local community. This naturally required a commitment to training.
Additionally, we source as much of the supplies for our accommodations locally too.
All of this creates a “knock on” effect throughout the locality as can be best seen in Bandipur. This once sleepy mountain town is now thriving once more. Life has been breathed back into Bandipur as it is now firmly established as a tourist destination. So much so that this attracted “competition”, as other accommodation providers have now invested in Bandipur.
Not resting on our laurels though, we began our most ambitious project to date “Pancha Baja” in Bandipur. The saving of a derelict and crumbling ancestral mansion house in Bandipur’s attractive main square. This massive undertaking has once again seen the revival of traditional craft skills and the creation of new work opportunities. Project Pancha Baja has now come to fruition and forms a welcome, but distinctly separate accommodation option within the overall scope of our Old Inn at Bandipur.
Dreamy Nuwakot and the creation of The Famous Farm saw much the same benefit in terms of initial and ongoing opportunity for this “off the beaten track” rural, hill village. Yet, here in the foothills of the Langtang Himal was an altogether different challenge. The Famous Farm needed to blend in and complement local life. As any visitor to Nuwakot will tell you, there’s a certain magic here and we were acutely aware that were it to be over run by tourism, it would not only be too much change, but would take away the essence and magic of Nuwakot.
Here, in Nuwakot our involvement with the local community is less visible. But, look a little closer and you’ll find that we have helped create and maintain the only school in Nepal for deaf/ mute children. Guests staying at The Famous Farm certainly love being greeted by the smiling, happy kids here, as well as the warmth they receive from the local villagers.
At our Big Fig Trisuli Camp the abject poverty that the handful of local people endured has been improved massively by better employment, directly and indirectly as a result of us “setting up camp”. Not least when we created and built The Trisuli Young Leaders Club where the youngsters in the area come to learn and develop life skills.
All the while we’ve been quietly “getting on with it”. No big PR campaign to make us look good. We just got on with it.
Then in 2015 came change in the form of the earthquake and the woeful response from Government. As with many things in Nepal, it is the private sector that provides leadership and initiative.
Thus in response to the 2015 earthquake, Support Rural Nepal was formalised as a private initiative. Suddenly we had found ourselves being inundated with overwhelming goodwill from the many guests who have stayed with us, to our friends within the travel trade. A formal, but dynamic enterprise was required and quickly too. Providing immediate relief to those affected was clearly first and foremost. However, continuing support remains absolutely essential, not only to recover and rebuild but to also help the future outlook of the people of rural Nepal. We remain 100% committed to this benevolent project and our work remains ongoing.
Support Rural Nepal has extended boundaries and our efforts no longer remain just in the places we operate commercially. We have lent expertise, on the ground logistical services and other assistance and we continue to do so. The next great adventure has begun.
If you’d like to know more about Support Rural Nepal, help in anyway or get involved please click the link below or contact us..