Canadian aims to rebuild school flattened in Nepal quake
A Canadian woman who was working with young girls in Nepal when a deadly earthquake struck last month says more aid is needed to help victims in flattened villages.
Laura Levtov, a Toronto-area skating coach who runs the “Freedom On Ice, Nepal” non-profit organization, said many people in Nepal’s remote villages are struggling to survive a month after the devastating quake that killed more than 8,000 people.
Levtov was working to improve education for girls at a school in Nepal’s Helambu region when disaster struck. The school was flattened in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and Levtov spent days in a tent city afterward.
She’s now back in Canada, but her son Mark is still in Nepal, delivering whatever aid he can to remote areas and collecting GPS co-ordinates for aid organizations working in the country so that they can access villages that have yet to receive help.
Levtov said she told her son: “When you show up, you bring hope.”
“If you don’t have hope, you have nothing,” she told CTV’s Canada AM Tuesday.
Levtov said more help is needed to deliver basic necessities such as rice and medicine to remote villages. A young girl named Sandhya, whom she calls her “Nepali daughter,” is doing just that. Eight days after the quake, 20-year-old Sandhya was able to take some aid to the village where the destroyed school was located. Levtov said no one else had been there yet, because the area is so remote.
Levtov said her goal is to rebuild the school and continue with efforts to send young Nepalese girls to school.
She said many girls in Nepal are not educated, since impoverished families usually choose to send their boys to school. Girls are often expected to find work in the cities or abroad and send money back to their families, Levtov said.
“Girls are not of value,” she said, adding that she hopes to change that and empower girls to make their own choices.
“I think the village life is beautiful … but I don’t want the girls to live in the village because they don’t have a choice. I want them to live in the village because they choose.”