from the time that the first earthquake hit nepal almost 3 weeks ago, i have gone back-and-forth on whether or not to write something on here. i don’t necessarily have anything new to add that has not already been said by thousands of people on dozens of different platforms, but i still kind of felt like i should say something since nepal was a significant part of my grad school journey.
the two months i spent in nepal had their ups-and-downs, but there is no doubt that i absolutely loved the country. the landscapes were beautiful. the people were kind and welcoming. the food was delicious. all those platitudes people lavish on nepal are true.
but nepal also has its share of problems. there is no stable government, resulting in multiple bandhs [sometimes on days when you have to get to the airport to catch a flight]. there is massive poverty. there are unsafe roads and buildings.
but despite all of these problems, people go about their daily lives and find ways to survive, even thrive in some cases. and during my time in the country, i got to see that firsthand. those months continue to remain a wonderful time in my memory, and i am thankful both for the opportunity to work with an organization like room to read as well as to have been able to spend time in the country and be adopted as a local.
i will forever treasure the memories that i made there. bungee jumping off a bridge with jack. sneaking into all the tourist spots for free. navigating my way around kathmandu and lalitpur. spending 4 weeks amongst the ride paddies of western nepal. ordering endless cups of chai to use wifi at various places. spending a week in and around pokhara. my time with the rajbhandari family in lamachaur.
as nepal struggles to assess the damage from the earthquakes and begins its rebuilding process, the friends i met and the memories i made are constantly in the back of my mind. my immediate reaction was that i wanted to help, but i had no idea what to do. i’m not trained in rescue and relief operations. i don’t have a way of getting into the country. i can donate money, but how can i trust that the money is getting to the people who need it most?
luckily there are people and organizations far more qualified than i am who have taken up the mantle for this. if you are interested in supporting rescue and relief efforts, think about making a donation to any of the following:
- julie’s gofundme campaign, with proceeds going directly to bibeksheel nepali and read nepal.
- room to read’s nepal education fund.
- women thrive worldwide partners rural women’s network nepal and women lead nepal.
julie is a clinton school friend who runs an organization in nepal that provides a sustainable income for women. i completed my ipsp with room to read and have seen firsthand the impact they are making in their communities. and i got to meet and introduce ritu sharma, the founder of women thrive worldwide, when she spoke at the clinton school in 2011. i can vouch for all of the options, and i strongly encourage you to help in any way that you can.