Alan's big challenge

A BURGH St Peter man will be visiting north- west Nepal in the autumn as part of the Nepal House Build Challenge, organised by world charity ActionAid.

A BURGH St Peter man will be visiting north- west Nepal in the autumn as part of the Nepal House Build Challenge, organised by world charity ActionAid.

But Alan Offord needs to raise more than £3,000 to take part.

He plans to go to the Bardia area from October 31-November 10 to work as part of a construction project to build houses with the Kamaiya people.

He has put out an appeal for sponsorship from local companies and individuals alongside his own fund-raising efforts.

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“These people were formerly bonded labourers, essentially slaves to their landlords, whose land they lived on,” he said.

“In July 2000, the Nepalese government banned the practise of bonded labour, freeing the Kamaiya, but at the same time making them homeless.

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“ActionAid has been working in the area for over 20 years, helping the Kamaiya to understand their rights to land and to help them build proper brick houses.

“I and a group of around 10 other volunteers, will become part of this project, living under canvas for a week and working on a building site. This is a real opportunity for me to make a direct and meaningful difference to the lives of a disadvantaged people.”

Norfolk-born Alan is 22 and grew up in Burgh St Peter. He went to school at Worlingham Middle and the Sir John Leman High School at Beccles. He was a member of the Scout movement and completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award up to Silver Level.

He has just completed a three-year BA honours degree in graphic design at the University College for the Creative Arts in Maidstone, Kent.

“My goal in becoming involved in this challenge is to do more than just help less fortunate people,” he said.

“I want to experience a community about as far removed from the society I live in as it is possible to get. I want to understand how we, as a fortunate, richer culture, can make a positive difference to the lives of much poorer people.

“I believe that the only way you can truly understand the problems of a community, and also the solutions that are required, is to go out and be physically involved in them.”

Alan needs to raise a personal sponsorship of £3,100 to pay for his flights in and out of Nepal, accommodation and food, as well as building materials, safety equipment and training for the project.

“I have asked for donations from friends and family, taken part in a five-a-side football tournament, run an online blog and will shortly be running in the Herts 10K cross-country marathon,” said Alan.

“I am also seeking sponsorship from local businesses, who might be interested in associating themselves with what I believe is a very worthy project.”

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