Billerud Korsnäs supports ActionAid - a global organization working to combat poverty. We support primarily the part of Action Aid activities that focus on the human right food, because it has a clear connection to our business.
All employees are therefore offered the opportunity to donate "one lunch per month"/ 60 SEK which is deducted from their salary. BillerudKorsnäs then donates 100 additional SEK a month for each participant from the company. Employees who donate 60 SEK per month have the opportunity to participate in a draw for a trip to a country where ActionAid conducts various human right projects. In 2012 two BillerudKorsnäs employees went to Gangaparaspur/Nepal to help in a housing project. Read their storie and see all the pictures from their exciting journey.
Our adventure, that also involved being transported back a good hundred years and, during the course of a week, becoming part of a community aiming to make a difference in one of the poorest parts of Nepal, begins with a short stop in Kathmandu before we head on to Nepalgunj on a domestic flight along the Himalayan mountain range, with our journey concluding with a 3-hour bus trip on non-existent roads. The villagers of Gangaparaspur come out to welcome us, and we are allotted a space in a tent – two men or women in each.
The morning starts at 7 am with a breakfast of porridge, warm milk and a little bread, which we eat together. After about an hour, as we walk to the building site, the sun has already started to cast its warming rays. We’ve been given detailed instructions about working according to our own ability and how to lift things, as well as being told that we should use sunscreen, drink water, etc. When we arrive at the building site, we see that the available mateerial consists of water, cement and bricks – enormous numbers of them. The only tools at our disposal are buckets, spades and trowels – plus our own bodies to do the work. It takes a lot of buckets of water to make half a cubic metre of cement and since the bucket only takes 10 litres, we make a lot of trips to the well.
We stop work at 12 for lunch, and a gang of sweaty, dusty volunteers trudges slowly back to the camp. The sun is now high in the sky, it’s over 25 degrees, and everyone’s hungry. One hour later, it’s time to prepare for the afternoon session, pick up our spades and make our way back. The afternoon session follows the same routines as the morning’s: carry water, mix cement and lay foundations. At around 5 pm, we stop work, clean our tools and walk back over the fields. The views are fantastic – the only sights and sounds are birds and bleating sheep. We’ve been told that there are leopards and tigers in the jungle behind us, but we neither see nor hear any.
We’ve really been given the opportunity to experience a fantastic adventure in which we feel we’ve contributed to the housing project in Gangaparaspur. We’ve also had a great time with the gang from Action Aid. In Western terms, the needs of the village are enormous. The sacrifices we’ve made in terms of the financial contribution made by BillerudKorsnäs and our week’s work are, in any case, a step in the right direction.
//Elisabeth Johansson & Rickard Björsten