BROOKLYN - A Brooklyn native who left Nepal days before the earthquake is traveling back to the region on a mission to help the country rebuild.
It had only been five days since Ken Levy returned to the U.S. from traveling in Nepal with Na Young Ji when the country was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.
Most of the Nepalese guides who helped the pair and a dozen other tourists climb the Himalayas lost everything in the quake.
Inspired by the compassion the Nepalese showed them, Ji, a child psychiatrist and Levy, a contractor and East New York native, decided they had to help.
The pair teamed up with another member of their trekking group to form the nonprofit "Friends of Gorkha" to help the Gorkha region rebuild.
The group's initial goal was to focus on the reconstruction of schools, but with so many people completely devastated by the disaster, they are heading back to Nepal in mid-June to focus on immediate relief efforts like shelter and food.
Levy says his ultimate goal is to help rebuild the region in a sustainable way.
So far, the group has raised about $14,000 and Levy says the nonprofit plans to raise $500,000 to build at least 35 sustainable schools in the region.