By Andy Young

The Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) has handed over a cheque to the Australian Himalayan Foundation (AHF), which will help fund school rebuilding in the earthquake-ravaged region.

The ALSA Conference Charity Auction, which took place in Darwin in August, raised $18,780 for the AHF and this week, ALSA CEO Terry Mott formerly handed over the cheque to AHF program director Tshering Lama O'Gorman.

Lama O'Gorman said: "This will be going towards our earthquake appeal, which is all about rebuilding schools. There are about 40 schools that need to be rebuilt or repaired and the first build is due to start in December and we're hoping to do four or five schools in the first year.

"Some schools will be completely rebuilt, and then we can just repair some of the others. The area we are working in is quite marginalised and doesn't receive much funding, so the schools were literally built with just stones so with the strong earthquake they just collapsed."

The AHF has been working with Australian engineers who have helped design a lightweight earthquake-resistant school, which the foundation is hoping will be approved the department of education in Nepal.

"This is going to be a huge, huge help for us and we really appreciate it," Lama O'Gorman said. She also talked about some of the logistical issues facing the rebuilding effort.

"We were work, most of the schools are just connected by walking trails and the nearest town is connected to the capital by a seasonal road, which is about 10 hours drive and it is a really bad road.

"The schools will be rebuilt with materials that have been carried in on people's backs."

The AHF was chosen after Everest mountaineer Steven Bock spoke at ALSA's Darwin conference and so the decision was made to donate the funds from the charity auction to help after the Nepal earthquake in April 2015. Lama O'Gorman added that each classroom rebuild costs up to $9000, so the ALSA funds will help many children of all ages.

Mott gave special thanks to the companies who donated items for the auction; those companies included Accolade Wines, Asahi Premium Beverages, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Coopers, Diageo, Lion, Pernod-Ricard and Treasury Wine Estates.

The Shout Team

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