When Nick Abraham travelled to Nepal in 2015 to utilise his carpentry skills and fundraised money in earthquake relief efforts, he hadn’t the slightest idea of the journey that would begin or where it would lead.
However, on the bedrock of this young man’s spirit, a new breed of organisation was built.
The organisation he was meant to join terminated before his arrival- motivated to help still, he found the community of Ghumarchowk through other volunteers and began to work.
It is hard for anyone to understand the challenges involved in this process, when From the Ground Up began. Language barriers, political issues, cultural differences, health obstacles as well as personal and family tragedies that occurred. Particularly for Nick, spending months on end away from home.
Upon Nick’s return to Australia in March 2016, we teamed up to conduct further fundraising and actually continue to develop communities in Nepal. It became clear for tax reasons that the best course of action to do this was to register the organisation formally in Australia and achieve charitable status.
None of us were older than 21 years of age at that time, and initially intended on doing the bare minimum to qualify as an organisation. But then three things happened.
The first was noticing the true extent of the needs for people in communities like Ghumarchowk. Initially our focus was on improving construction standards, but it became hard to ignore their deeper social issues which predated the earthquake.
Secondly, we connected with a great deal of research and discourse on aid delivery processes, which prompted us to develop some unique ideas to help people. We came to deeply believe in these ideas.
Thirdly, we came to love being involved in the sector. Meeting other great people, working with our spare time from work and university to change lives.
Building a Better Tomorrow
Building a Better Tomorrow
At From the Ground Up we do not discriminate on the basis of ‘first’ and ‘third world’ countries. We take a very humanistic approach, focusing the potential of individuals to change circumstances for themselves and within their community.
We work exclusively by invitation and collaboration. Regardless of location, our first condition is that we must be explicitly invited to help. After immersing ourselves into a target community, we use stringent criteria to determine if community infrastructure proposals are worthy of donor-funding, based on their impact potential, ability to be sustainable and level of community authorship.
Through our specialised employment facilitation arm, which is not donor-funded, we champion job creation as the most impactful means for engaging individuals and developing communities. Whilst we cannot objectively measure quality of life, we focus on increasing average household income as a means for giving undernourished communities a chance for micro-economic development.
We balance senior professionals with student-age individuals to fundraise, coordinate and deliver our range of operations; all of who benefit from the educational and meaningful nature of their experiences.
As well as Founding From the Ground Up initially in Nepal and continuing to run operations on the ground, Nick has extensive experience in both residential and commercial construction in Australia. This allows him to utilise his skills in managing projects as well as ensuring construction quality. Nick was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2016 and also recognised by Goot500 magazine in the Netherlands in the top 500 people doing great things in the world. Nick aims to implement sustainable infrastructure development and social entrepreneurship to engineer meaningful change.
Joe is a University of Sydney Graduate having completed a Bachelor of Psychology in 2016. In addition to receiving an Archbishop Award for Student Excellence in 2012 and a University of Sydney ALF Scholarship in 2013, Joseph has further training in property development, construction administration and experience working for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In 2011 Joseph was part of a school-based Immersion to Cambodia and volunteered further in Nepal in December 2015. He is also the Co-Founder of Sydney based real estate company, Sydney Listings. He maintains a keen interest in entrepreneurship and its relation to the non-profit sector.
In 2012 Paddy spent a short time working in schools and orphanages in Pokhara and Bhaktapur, Nepal. He is currently in his final year studying a Bachelor of Commerce at University of Sydney, majoring in Accounting and Finance before entering a graduate role at Ernst & Young. Since 2012 Paddy has worked at SV Partners and Hayes Advisory working primarily in liquidation. He is currently working at Sydney Church of England Grammar School. He has also worked with St Bakhitas Centre and the Starlight Foundation. Paddy looks to pursue a profession in Corporate Tax Advisory.
Scott is completing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (Hons) at the University of Technology Sydney, where he has also completed workshops in Banda Aceh and Cambodia. He currently is a Casual Academic, helping support 2 subjects and developing a Humanitarian Engineering Studio to be taught in 2018. Outside of university, Scott has worked at Bouygues Construction Australia for over 3 years. He is very interested in aligning innovation with social development to maximise impact within communities.