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A final sip of Nepali tea. Legacy-funders and Nepali guests at “A Special Bond” Potlatch Feast, Vancouver BC

A Special Bond: The Canadian Architects’ Legacy Fund and SOS Children’s Villages Nepal at 10 years

September 7, 2017 — 

The Canadian Architects’ Legacy Fund is a participatory philanthropy ventured by last graduates and many special friends of the University of Manitoba’s then-professional undergraduate program in architecture (circa 1969/71).

To mark 35 years following the bestowing of ritual silver rings, former classmates attending a BArch Last Rites Reunion in Vancouver BC in June 2006 chose to honour their alma mater by undertaking habitation interventions in the Himalayas in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Nepal and SOS Children’s Villages Nepal. Two years later training trainers was added to SOS CV Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) outreach in Itahari in the southeast. Then, in September 2016, during a BArch SKITch Camp Reunion in the Qu’Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan, the Fund embarked “pop-up” architectural education for Nepali children and youth with cognitive and mobility challenges centred on CV Jorpati in Kathmandu.

SOS CV Nepal has, over the decade-plus, been the Fund’s primary beneficiary as well as its main collaborator, championed throughout by soon-to-retire National Director Shree Shankar Pradhananga. By way of acknowledgement and appreciation, Mr Pradhananga was honoured and various members of Nepali staff were praised at a recent gift-giving Potlatch Feast in Vancouver.

The Potlatch also marked the Fund’s own “retirement” – the cohort is aging.

At decade’s end, the question is asked: Were the Fund’s interventions meaningful? Mr Pradhananga says yes. A catalyst revolving fund for micro-finance houses (800 today) and income generation (220) continues to churn, and the cadres of trained trainers and Universal Design advocates are increasingly influential.

Forty alumni – inspired by architects Brian Eldred (Wilcox SK), Norman Glouberman (Montréal), Gordon Richards (Vancouver), Peter Diamant (Victoria), George Strome (Waterloo ON) and Douglas Massie (Vancouver) – were pioneers. Former Dean of Architecture David Witty (currently University of Vancouver Island VP Academic) provided encouragement. Architects Without Borders Canada founder and current Department of Interior Design Head Kelley Beaverford on-site educated.

Written by Stanley Britton (BArch/71) Wakefield, QC

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