Rebuilding Nepal

Changing Lives Nepal is supporting initiatives for post-earthquake reconstruction:
  • Using innovative natural building technology and locally available materials to not only rebuild homes and classrooms, but also to train and develop income-generating skills for local villagers. Read about Gyalthum College and Natural Building below.
  • Modeling improved stone masonry techniques in construction of an office for our organic agriculture local non-profit partner, Society Development Center. Learn more…
  • Providing cash to rural villagers for direct reconstruction through a trekking team fundraising campaign.  Learn more…

Natural Building: Gyalthum College

Gyalthum College is a vision for the future of Nepal: it will be built predominantly with local mud (compressed into earth bricks), provide training to local laborers on new and marketable skills, be a model of cost-effective building solutions for village homes, and create a tool library for local use in replicating the construction techniques. Most importantly, it is led by a visionary Nepali architect who has brought natural building techniques from the U.S. to Nepal over the past six years.

The project includes four buildings:

  • Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) college classrooms building
  • Two CEB homes for local people in desperate need
  • One stone masonry home demonstrating seismic reinforced concrete bands and other improved safety techniques, also for a family in need

At CLN, we work with a unique small-scale approach to development:

  • Partnering with local innovators who want to lead change
  • Providing seed money for initiating hard-to-fund projects or
  • Providing gap funding to help partially-funded projects come together

Real change is a slow process that must come from inside. Our role is as a catalyst for change, not as the authority or driver of change. We are excited that we have the opportunity to do what we do best: support new ideas from local Nepalis, invest in long-term change, and help develop and spread successful innovative solutions

A woman shows off a Compressed Earth Brick. Will it be the natural building block of the future?

              A woman shows off a Compressed Earth Brick. Will it be the natural building block of the future?



Compressed Earth Brick (CEB) with bamboo is a progressive new natural building technology for Nepal. CLN will be partnering with nonprofit Hands with Hands, TEAM Nepal, and Nepali natural building pioneer Nripal Adhikary to bring CEB technology to village areas struggling to rebuild after the earthquake. (See below for more details on these new partners.)

From the local villages, 12-15 people will be selected for on-the-job training. They will be paid for construction work on the projects and also trained step by step so that they can be employed as skilled CEB labor on future projects in the area. The participants will be chosen by the local community and will be a mix of unskilled individuals who need income-generating skills and skilled individuals with some knowledge of traditional construction techniques. TEAM Nepal brings a decades-long history of successful work in the area and will manage the community relationship, participants, and support day-to-day work during the build as well as ensure long-term continuity of the program.

The materials and equipment have all been quality tested. Nripal has designed significant improvements to the Chinese-produced brick making machines and had his own version fabricated in Nepal. He has also tested the regional mud, found a local source of high-quality mud, and refined the mud and aggregate mix so that it wont crumble apart as bricks–a common failing of other CEB projects in Nepal. The rock aggregate pulverizer is a machine also of Nripals improved re-design. Bamboo will come from Nripals factory in the Nepal lowlands this fall. TEAM Nepal is already working with the local community forest user groups to plant 440 bamboo saplings of the right variety for strong buildings so that in 18-24 months, there will be a local supply of bamboo for future homes. Perhaps the best part of this project is that the solution comes from within from a local, innovative Nepali with both the vision and the expertise to contribute to a better future.

Gyalthum College is not far from the Childrens Home and is in the area where CLN partner and TEAM Nepals Director, Neel Thakuri grew up and has worked for years to support schools and education. Its also one of the most heavily earthquake-affected areas of Nepal, where the majority of homes and schools were leveled. The one-story college building survived with cracks, but the additional classrooms they utilized for courses in Education and Agriculture were completely destroyed. Construction of a model building here is ideal because its a highly visible location in the local community. Risk-averse farmers and local villagers need to see demonstration buildings that will survive the next monsoon to convince them of CEB resilience and make them ready to invest their limited funds in this construction method for their own homes. Demonstrating CEB at Gyalthum College will provide a sustainable economic model for reliable and cost-effective building and we are planning for that from the beginning.

In addition, we will rebuild three local homes in the surrounding area as a contribution to families in need, as an opportunity for further local skills training, and as visible demonstration of what homes (rather than classrooms) would actually look like.

CLN is already contributing $10,000 to help launch the program with Hands with Hands and TEAM Nepal this fall. The total project cost is estimated at $125,000 for all four buildings (about 45% of what large INGOs are spending on similar square footage at a nearby school). CLN gap funding will cover roughly 15% of the project to ensure that it can go forward.

We need your support in raising an additional $10,000 this fall to support the purchase of CEB and pulverizer machines, among other tools and provide skills training for the local villagers who will be involved. CLN couldn’t be more optimistic about this project, its exactly the type of work we’ve always envisioned in Nepal! Construction is slated to begin in Nov/Dec 2016, and our hope is that all four buildings will be complete before the monsoon next year. Please join us in being part of a better future for Nepal!


Reviewing natural building plans and construction fall of 2015.

Sanumaya’s completed home!

Sanumaya’s completed home!