Since Richard Backwell visited Bimal's home village of Okhle in 2003, he has been extremely active in fundraising to support development projects in Okhle and the surrounding villages.

Projects are initiated by the villagers and Ohhle Village Trust then supports them with funding, materials, technical expertise or skilled labour as needed to complete the projects successfully. However, the majority of the labour, both skilled and manual, comes from the villagers themselves.

Since the control of what the project is to achive is set by the village community alone, this ensures the projects are targeted at the needs of the community and gives the village ownership of the project and a great feeling of pride.

All projects use local methods and materials wherever possible, keeping the local styles and working techniques alive. Specialist components not available within Nepal are sourced from elsewhere in the world with the focus on their simplicity and robustness for their intended function to ensure longevity.

Okhle Village Trust works with the Nepalese communities to refine their working techniques to achieve quality results in shorter timeframes without fundamentally changing their practices. In this way skills passed down for generations are further developed rather than being lost or superceded by alien modern technology.

Okhle Village Trust supports three main project areas vital for local development: education, infrastructure and social work as well as Bimal's local business of trekking. Since April 2015 when the earthquake struck Okhle Village Trust has also supported the relief effort as you can read under Disaster Relief below.

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Disaster Relief

On the 25th Aril 2015 Nepal was hit by a strong earthquake registering 7.8Mw, whose epicentre lay in the area near the village of Barpak, approximately 100km west north west of Kathmandu. Almost another 100km west of Barpak as the crow flies lie the group of villages supported by Okhle Village Trust. The initial tremor and aftershocks caused widespread destruction; worst affected were built up areas with a dense population but many rural areas also suffered. In the area around Okhle village, a number of houses were decimated, largely due to their poor construction.Typically those who lost there houses were the poor who could not afford a higher quality building materals and techniques. Okhle Vllage Trust donated funds to allow those who had lost their property to rebuild to a higher standard. The school in Sanjur was right off the beaten track. Okhle Village Trust supplied funds to rebuild the school from a pile of rubble into what you see below.In many instances it was possible even to make improvements to what had previously existed with rainwater harvesting. Kind donations from the WI (Women's Institute) allowed the toys in the nursery to be replaced.

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Education

To improve the quality of education in primary and secondary schools in the area by providing the necessary funds for extra teachers, new equipment, refurbishment of buildings and making classrooms more student friendly.

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Infrastructure

To assist in the development and implementation of infrastructure projects which contribute to health, economic development and quality of life. This is facilitated by offering skilled engineering assistance, project funds, components and tools where necessary.

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Social Work

To support the social welfare systems already in place in the villages, primarily the Mothers Committees, with funds to assist them with health and hygiene, develop income generating trades and provide disadvantaged families with emergency healthcare when required.

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Trekking Expeditions

Bimal Gurung is an experienced Nepalese trekking guide, born in the village of Okhle not far from one end of the Annapurna trekking circuit. Bimal grew up with a view of the Himilayas and has devoted his career to becoming a professional trekking guide. At the start of his career Bimal worked for established trekking companies taking clients into the main trekking regions of Nepal. In 2003 with his established knowledge and experience Bimal set up his own trekking company which he has been running ever since. Bimal is lead guide for his own treks wherever possible with a deputy guide where the size of the group demands. Traditionally clients' luggage is transported by porters between the teahouses on route where guests spend the nights. The porters on all Bimal's treks come from his home village Okhle and the neighbouring villages, thereby directly supporting the local villagers and their families. The most popular trekking areas in Nepal are Everest, Langtang and Annapurna. Bimal offers a flexible service ranging from a standard trek in one of the main trekking areas to your own fully personalised trek in any part of Nepal or even crossing the borders into neighbouring Tibet or India. The trekking season runs from October to May throughout the Nepalese dry season offering comfortable trekking conditions with cooler temperatures from December to February. Alongside trekking, Bimal offers a full activity and tourism service throughout Nepal for you to experience the National Parks, cultural highlights and heritage of Nepal at their best. To contact Bimal and ask for a recommendation, quote or to arrange your trip. Email Bimal directly at bimalgurung2014@hotmail.com. There may be a short delay in receiving a reply if Bimal is currently on a trek but he will get back to you at the earliest possible opportunity.

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