One year ago, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, shattering many small villages and killing thousands of people. To this day, much of the country is still in the beginning stages of recovery and rebuilding, despite a worldwide effort to send aid. Home to the legendary Mount Everest, Nepal has a thriving community of Western adventure travelers and thrill seekers, many of whom leapt into action as soon as the quake’s rumbling subsided.
One of these, the Cloudbase Foundation, a network of hang-and-paraglider enthusiasts formed to give back to the regions they fly in, has been on the ground since the beginning. Providing manpower as well as medical, educational, and financial aid, they’re sill hard at it one year later. Working in the Gorkha district, they’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to directly impact those hardest hit.
Formed in 2009, Cloudbase already had an infrastructure of support in place.
“We have been in Nepal working on developing a variety of education programs over the last six years,” said Nick Greece, one of the organizations directors. “After the earthquake our team, who is based in Pokhara, mobilized. Most of the tandem paraglider pilots and adventure athletes that volunteered had medical training, can navigate and travel in dangerous and rough terrain, know how to deal with stress in emergency situations, and are skilled at sending back reports by capturing content, which was critical for larger organizations as groups rushed to perform the critical assessments that drive aid distribution.”
Despite a massive continuing workload, the organization’s commitment to the area is not flagging.
“Our efforts are committed to making sure that the villages in the Gorkha that we work with are stronger than before the earthquakes,” Greece stated firmly. “We will be there until then, and have become a member of all of these communities. Currently we are rebuilding eleven schools, twenty-two libraries, and have taken on fifty life-long scholarships of earthquake orphans, with an additional fifty in the screening process. We have also worked to deliver coloring books to every school in the Gorkha that explain to students why the earthquake happened and what do do if something like this occurs again.”
One of the things that most impressed Greece while he was in Nepal is the natural willingness of others to help those in their community.
“The Nepalis in the Gorkha are actively working to rebuild their world,” he noted. “When one village has what it needs to get back on its feet, we have witnessed time and again the people sending our aid teams on to the next place. It’s an amazing response to a terrible situation to think of not just one's own welfare and success but to proudly get back up and work to help one's neighbors as well.”
This film about their efforts, released as part of camera maker GoPro’s For A Cause program, is aimed not just at shining a light on Cloudbase’s humanitarian works, but also to inspire like-minded folks to get involved in giving back. Greece and his friends feel that anyone who travels for adventure and sport owes a debt of gratitude to the places they visit.
“A number of us realized that we wanted to have deeper connections with the communities that we were visiting to recreate in so we started a foundation that would enable all pilots to work with communities that they flew in or around,” explained Greece. “If a paraglider or hang glider wants to work in the US or Nepal or Ecuador we work with them to maximize their effort and effect.”
For more information or to get involved, head to www.thecloudbasefoundation.org