The board of Another Brick in Nepal is made up of a group of like-minded people living on Vancouver Island. Learn more about us below!
2017 marks the 20th year that I have been in the masonry business here in Victoria. In 2005 I was gifted with the opportunity to spend 2 months in Honduras, volunteering to construct a post-disaster school for impoverished girls. The experience of working with many local Hondurans, along side an amazing team of volunteers from Vancouver Island was a life-changing event for me.
A colour, centre bi-fold picture in the April 26th, 2015, Globe and Mail is best described as having “hit me like a ton of bricks”. I’ve moved and laid a lot of bricks during my career, however nothing prior to this photo has called out to me in such a powerful way.
On that day there was no way for me to know that picture would change my life. I pinned it to a bulletin board at my office and looked at it every day as its message became apparent. I approached my friend, Randy, whom I knew had been to Nepal a couple of times and told him my idea. I wanted to reach out and see if I could find a way to help the people of Nepal after this devastating earthquake. Another earthquake hit around this time, and Randy was immediately in.
I am being shown that our excitement is contagious. The learning curve is steep, the hurdles are at times frustrating, the patience required to start a non-profit from scratch sometimes eludes me. While I may not speak Nepali, I do understand the universally recognized form of communication in its infinitely beautiful form – “a child’s smile”. This is our goal, this is our calling, at Another Brick in Nepal we choose to communicate with smiles and we are blessed to have this opportunity to make a difference.
Since I was a wee boy growing up Scotland, I’ve always had a passion for building things. I trained and became a Professional Quantity Surveyor (QS) before emigrating to Canada in 1991. Since then I have worked as a QS, Project Manager and Construction Manager in both consulting practices and construction companies in Europe, the Middle East, and on both the East and West coasts of Canada.
I have a thirst for travel, it’s how I met my German wife. We took a 1½ year sabbatical on a round the world trip before having a family. Now that we have kids, we continue to travel whenever possible. In 2017 we took a six month sabbatical with the kids, homeschooling them whilst travelling through Namibia, Brazil and Ecuador.
I first met Rob Tournour at a staff party from my wife’s workplace. He had just started a masonry company and our paths crossed for a few years before I ended up working for him in 2008. One thing that drew me to Rob was his non-profit work in Honduras where he had helped in constructing a small school. I was very fortunate to experience Rob setting up Another Brick in Nepal and became actively involved myself when I accompanied Rob to Nepal in May of 2019 to evaluate school projects. It was a life changing experience to be surrounded by so many deserving kids and educators all in need of better schooling facilities, and to be able to help them in realizing their vision for a better learning environment.
Born and raised on Vancouver Island, I grew up hiking so it was a natural fit to want to help out in the rural mountains of Nepal after the earthquake in 2015. My education is in broadcasting and video editing so I am very excited to be doing this for Another Brick in Nepal. My goal is to make a video every three weeks to be posted on our website. These videos will range from introducing you to the Another Brick in Nepal board to updates on where we are with our fundraising and the progress to build the school. I was fortunate to visit the Nuwakot region of Nepal in October 2016 and see the earthquake devastation firsthand. I met the people who live in the village where we will be building and cannot wait to go back when we build the school.
I am born and raised on Vancouver Island and am just recently retired from a thirty-five year career working for a school district as a resource coordinator. I have enjoyed a life long passion for the outdoors including canoeing, hiking and mountain climbing. I was fascinated with Mt Everest from an early age and later developed a passion for Nepal and the people of Nepal. My interest was intensified in 2011 when I trekked to Everest Base Camp with an American adventure tour company. To have experienced Katmandu and especially the small Sherpa villages between Lukla and Everest made me sure it would not be long before I returned. I did return one more time in 2013 and visited Pokhara and the Annapurna area. It was shortly after the major earthquake in April of 2015 that I retired and coincidentally Rob approached me with the idea of helping rebuild post earthquake. It was a case of the door of my work life closing and another one opening providing me an opportunity to help out in Nepal, the place of my dreams, unrestrictedly.
I grew up in the UK and moved to Canada around 15 years ago. Since moving to Canada I have been lucky enough to be involved in various charitable endeavours, though none quite on the scale of what we aim to achieve with ABIN. This gave me a passion for supporting people and giving opportunity to those who haven’t been as lucky as I have. After working with Wounded Warrior I really saw the difference my time and energy could make, and knew it was time to seek out something I was passionate about being involved with.
Travelling to Nepal changed everything for me. The wonderful people were all so incredibly welcoming and genuinely happy to see us. They lived in conditions most in Canada would not even be able to imagine, like going back in time, but this did not deter them in the slightest. The smiles of the children are what I see in my mind every time I have the great honour and pleasure of working to rebuild schools for them.