Press Release – New York, NY and Kathmandu, Nepal (November 2, 2018) – Sangsangai, the New York-based non-profit organization that is committed to revitalizing earthquake-impacted Nepalese villages by employing a combination of rebuilding efforts and customized economic development plans, announced that the organization’s first rebuilding project – the village of Rainsakot – has been awarded the title, “ Village Tourism Destination of the Year” by the Village Tourism Forum of Nepal on September 27th, 2018. Rabindra Prasad Adhikari, the Tourism Minister of Nepal, presented the award to Rainaskot resident, Bishnu Gurung.
Sangsangai began rebuilding efforts in Rainaskot in September, 2015, after the earthquake of April 2015 had severely damaged the homes in the village. October 2017 marked the completion of 14 earthquake-resistant private homes and a community center in the village. As of completion, the home stay program – an initiative to enable Rainaskot residents to generate income, had taken full effect.
Since the launch of the homestay program, 3000 domestic and international visitors have stayed in the village and have enjoyed the opportunity to experience Rainaskot through the eyes of its residents.
“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the residents of Rainaskot,” said Natasha Wozniak, founder of Sangsangai. “To watch the village residents transition from distressed earthquake victims to successful entrepreneurs is truly rewarding. Most of Rainsakot residents haven’t ever experienced going out to a restaurant or staying in a hotel. It is remarkable how they have adapted their traditional hospitality in such a short time in order in to entertain guests from all over the world. We are thrilled with the success that the village achieved so quickly, surpassing even our own vision”.
Sangsangai, which started as a small, independent earthquake-relief fund in April 2015, has since its launch raised approximately $250,000 from individuals and organizations and has successfully rebuilt a total of 14 homes and 3 community centers in 3 villages.
“Villages like Rainaskot have enabled Nepal to offer a diverse catalog of tourism destinations to national and international travelers alike,” said Mr. Adhikari. “Our hope for all the award winners is for them to scale their tourism efforts and promote their respective villages in the international market by embracing digitalization.”