The UCSB chapter of student-based initiative Nourish International will travel to Nepal this summer to provide basic necessities and construct new school buildings in an impoverished village.
The organization, introduced to UCSB last Spring Quarter, consists of 24 chapters at various colleges and is dedicated to fighting poverty around the world. The group collaborates with local organizations on projects to develop running water, electricity and transportation as well as medical and educational facilities.
Second-year global studies and anthropology major Miya Sommers said the initiative provides global outreach to combat economic inequality.
“Our mission is to eradicate global poverty and to do that through sustainable development, social entrepreneurship and community empowerment,” Sommers said. “As long as you have food in the fridge, money in the bank [and] at least a house to go home to, you’re in the top percent of the world.”
This summer the UCSB chapter will work on the Sarswati Peace School, built to help children affected by Nepal’s decade-long civil war, in Gorkha, Nepal.
According to second-year global studies and Spanish major Irene Rojas, the improvements — including several classrooms, a teacher’s quarters and a soccer field — will increase the school’s enrollment capacity and decrease its operation costs.
“What we’re going to do is expand the school and build an eco-friendly soccer field,” Rojas said. “And the great thing about the fact that we’re expanding the school is that they have to turn down a lot of kids because they don’t have the room.”
The project focuses on incorporating new technologies such as “sOccket balls” that provide energy to the soccer field’s lights.
Sommers said the high-tech devices help maximize the facility’s limited resources.
“What they do is, if you play with them for 15 minutes, they’re able to harness the kinetic energy to use as an LED light for three hours,” Sommers said. “It’s super cool, super cutting-edge technology.”
Gorkha is located in an arid, mountainous region that receives the majority of its rain during monsoon season. Nourish International is funding the construction of a water pipe alongside nonprofit Inspire a Child to ensure access to clean drinking water.
The organizations will also start a mentorship program that pairs impoverished children with UCSB students via the Internet to share experiences and discuss higher education, Sommers said.
Nourish International will fund the trip with a number of campus events, as well as help from investors.
Second-year political science and anthropology major Alyssa Garcia said the group aims to fund the trip with revenue garnered during its Himalayan Shakedown event on March 8.
“It’s going to be a great event, with raffles and prizes, and a DJ and a performance by an on-campus group, so it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Garcia said.