Members of Aspire Church, Katie Gray, Kent Longman, Matt Thomas, Wes Fox and Janine Thomas will be part of the group travelling to Nepal to assist in the aftermath of the earthquake. Photo: Jessie Johnston.

Locals off to help in Nepal


In the past five years Matt Thomas has been to Nepal three times for the sole purpose of providing aid to locals  living in tough conditions.

This year was to be his fourth humanitarian journey, accompanied by a group of six others, to build a school in a village in the Baglung region.

That was until news of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake tipped their plans upside down.

“I think with the Haiti earthquake, and Japan, you see it on the news and it’s quite shocking, but knowing people on the ground is the difference. Having real life connections with around 100 people there, knowing them, knowing their families and the circumstances, and seeing a lot of that destroyed and people killed; its hugely impacting and I guess we’re just wrapped up in shock,” says Matt.

The trip is still going ahead but their focus has changed to helping out in some of the worst-affected areas, alongside their local friends and international aid organisations. As well as visiting the village where they were to build the school, the group will also be taking time to assess the damage in the Serei Village in the Gorkha District; close to the epicentre, Dhading and Syang in the Jomsom District, areas that Matt has previously been involved with. While the main aim has now shifted to rebuilding homes and minimising the damage that disease will now inflict, the funds for the original school project will be set aside for the future.

“Our original plan was to go for several weeks, but I feel like it’s going to be more of a research trip to see what we can do, so that we can go back and really help. It’s going to be on-going for a long time, big earthquakes like this bring lots of sickness,” says Matt.

They will be holding a quiz night at Aspire Church on May 7 from 7pm to help raise money for the cause. Teams can register by emailing [email protected] before May 5.