In 2015, I met up with some locals in Thamel, Kathmandu. It was only a few months after the big earthquake that occured on April 25th 2015.
The city was still in recovery, as it is today too, and the effects of the quake could clearly be seen almost anywhere in Kathmandu.
For the first week or so, I was staying in Thamel which is the most touristic area of Kathmandu. During my time there, I met up with a few local people who immediately struck a chord with me.
Literally on their backyard they had witnessed as a newly built hotel came crashing down a public water fountain area, killing nine people in the process.
After the initial shock had worn off, they realized what kind of a situation they were in. With much of the city being in literal ruins, the government or municipality could not be counted on for help or reconstruction efforts.
The guys decided to start rebuilding themselves.
They formed an organisation so as to be able to have a legal status and started putting in the hours. They cleaned, carried rocks, emptied the area and tried to fix whatever they could. They organised public events where anyone and everyone were welcome to come in and help. Voluntary work.
Slowly this led to the city itself realizing what was being done and eventually coming in to provide help as well.
It goes to show that a lot can be done when the will is there and when you are being driven by a proactive passion for better living.
I did this short video a few days after meeting them. There was no script, no plans. I just went there and we got our hands dirty.
However, over the course of the past 1,5 years, I have stayed in active touch with the people over there and am now going back. To create something a bit deeper.
So, for the next 2,5 weeks, I will be in Kathmandu documenting the lives of these people and how they were affected by the quake. How a tragedy was turned into something positive and ultimately life changing. A story of perseverance.
Stay tuned for updates on this and in the meanwhile, check out the film below.