A temporary shelter has gone up on the lawn outside of the Watson Institute at Brown University. The structure is modeled on shelters used by the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal.
Atul Pokharel is a teaching fellow at Brown involved in relief efforts. He says he hopes the shelter will inspire others to think about their connection to the global community.
“It’s an example of how Rhode Island, and RISD, and students and faculty, and the community is connected to other parts of the world," said Pokharel, "and how disasters that happen in other places have a direct affect. We have a lot of Nepali people in Rhode Island, a lot of Bhutanese refugees who came. And we have a lot of people with expertise who might be relevant.”
Pokharel encourages members of the community to give their input on how the shelter could be improved.
Pokharel is using his expertise in international relief efforts to help his home country in other ways. And he hopes seeing the shelter up close will inspire people with other kinds of expertise to get involved.
“When you have something concrete like this, divisions of education and position and so on don’t matter. It’s a very concrete structure there," said Pokharel. "And you can talk in terms of the structure. And people can talk to each other and have a discussion about it, and connect that to Nepal, which is now slowly leaving the news cycle.”
Pokharel launched a web site to help coordinate relief efforts and provide donors with information about those efforts. He says this particular shelter was designed to make use of materials already available in the rubble in Nepal. But visitors might have ideas for better ways to build them.