Plans are moving forward to create a social enterprise project in earthquake-hit Nepal, thanks to the work of an Aberdeen rotary club.
Members of the Aberdeen St Machar group have supported a project to create a coffee shop and guest house in Bandipur which will bring in money to help five schools in the area.
The club has raised around £10,000 for the project and £70,000 in total has been committed by rotarians.
Of the total, £55,000 is for the social enterprise venture, and £15,000 is being used as direct support to the schools.
Aberdeen St Machar member, Bruce Anderson, travelled to Nepal in October to see how the project was going.
He said: “We arrived at a time when Nepal was facing one of the worst economic and social crises in its history.
“Back in April, there had been a major earthquake resulting in over 8,000 deaths and the loss of over 500,000 houses.
“On top of this, the country was now facing civil unrest with ethnic groups from the Terai (the flat land next to the Indian border) unhappy with the recently agreed constitution, blockading all the entry points to India, resulting in severe shortages, and particularly in fuel.”
Mr Anderson was involved in The Bread Maker – a bakery, coffee shop and social enterprise in Rosemount.
He added: “In a country where they don’t have a lot of government support, social enterprise is one solution to support special cases that need it.
“I’ve been struck by the resolve of the Nepalese people. This is probably the worst time they have had in their history with a major earthquake and then this local, civil unrest and no fuel.”
Mr Anderson said his organisation had found a property to rent for the social enterprise initiative and estimated the business should make £10,000 a year.
A partner rotary club in Katmandu will be running the venture.
He said: “We’re hoping that it is Nepalis who will be doing most of the work. It’s all about trying to move the country away from being so dependent on foreign aid, to be more independent.
“Sixty per cent of their GDP is foreign aid.”
It is hoped that renovation work for the social enterprise scheme can start next month.