Throughout the sixteen years of Holtab's involvement in Nepal, there has been a noticeable improvement for the people.
"I am pleased with the positive development. A lot has truly happened," says Gordon Gunnarsson, Holtab's technical director, who visited for the sixth time in November.
Holtab has been engaged in Nepal since 2007, assisting with everything from providing electricity to contributing to the construction of earthquake-resistant houses.
”Comparing to when I was there for the first time, the progress is enormous. The villagers’ access to electricity, water, and secure housing has improved. Additionally, it’s gratifying to see that the road network has improved, as we primarily assist in rural areas,” says Gordon Gunnarsson.
On-site in November
Every year, a team from Holtab travels to Nepal to assess the progress of the projects initiated by Holtab. This year, four employees made the trip: Gordon Gunnarsson, mechanical engineer Moa Östermark, project manager Sanna Moberg, and production manager Sofie Håkansson.
The journey to Nepal lasted just over two weeks, but throughout the year, nearly thirty people at Holtab have worked on various projects.
Moa Östermark is new to the group and traveled for the first time this year.
”It has been a fantastic experience, and it’s exciting to see that a company can make such a significant difference. At Holtab, we support both local and global projects,” she says.
One of the challenges in Nepal is earthquakes. In 2015, a major earthquake occurred, prompting Holtab to focus on assisting with earthquake-resistant houses. They collaborate with organizations Tuki Nepal and Build up Nepal.
This year, another earthquake occurred while Holtab’s team was in the country. Over 150 people died, and tens of thousands of houses were destroyed.
”We were in a different part of the country and didn’t witness the devastation, but it felt unsettling,” says Moa Östermark.
It all started in Jyamrung
Holtab’s involvement in Nepal began in the Jyamrung area, a day’s journey from the capital, Kathmandu. A local power grid was built to provide villagers with light during dark hours and the ability to charge mobile phones. Efforts have since expanded to other areas, including Holtab’s contribution to building a school in Pratapur.
The newly constructed school in Pratapur, where Holtab has participated in sponsoring classrooms.
According to Gordon Gunnarsson, several of Holtab’s projects have been successful, resulting in lasting improvements. They are now seeking new projects and awaiting project descriptions for various future endeavors, as well as taking spontaneous initiatives on-site.
”When we were there last, we spoke to an elderly woman who couldn’t understand why we had come so far to help. ’You don’t know me, and you live so far away,’ she said. Through various efforts, this woman, who has a daughter with a disability, received assistance in building her house and now has a water source nearby, so she doesn’t have to fetch water from afar. This time, she declined further help. But after a while, it emerged that she would like a new mattress to sleep on. Hers was worn out, and it gets cold at night. So, we bought mattresses, blankets, and pillows,” he says.