In 2015 Nepal was struck by two devastating earthquakes. The earthquakes killed 9,000 people and destroyed over 900,000 homes. Many schools were either destroyed or severely damaged. Rebuilding the schools was a challenge, particularly in the rural areas where government help is limited. RTM Masonry, Victoria’s leading masonry contractor, strongly believes in supporting the community and has done an incredible job helping to bring schools in Nepal back into working condition.
Rob Tournour, president of RTM Masonry, co-founded Another Brick in Nepal (ABIN) to help rebuild the schools in rural parts of Nepal that were damaged by the earthquakes. While reading the newspaper in a coffee shop, Rob, who is no stranger to volunteering, spotted a two-page photo about the devastation in Nepal. Having already helped in the building of a school for impoverished girls in Honduras in 2005, Rob decided that he needed to do something for Nepal. Eventually, he set up ABIN along with his friend Randy Jones and they made their first of many trips to Nepal in October 2015.
In 2017, ABIN funded the rebuilding of an elementary school in the village of Aapchaur. By using locally sourced brick and labor, money raised went back into the local economy, thus further helping the rebuilding process. Another school, the Yagyamati Secondary School in Kathmandu, received funding from ABIN to replace the furniture in two classrooms after government funding ran out. ABIN is currently helping rebuild the Sharada Secondary School in the Sankhuwasava district of Nepal. The school, housed in a two-story building and having over 450 students, was deemed unusable after the earthquakes. After ABIN stepped in, the rebuilding process progressed rapidly. ABIN has been organizing several events like a silent auction and a trail run in Victoria to help raise funds for its rebuilding efforts.
RTM Masonry recently received recognition as Member of the Year at the Vancouver Island Construction Association (VICA) Awards. The award is an acknowledgment from peers for the inspirational work done by RTM Masonry not only locally but also internationally.