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Fighting Poverty with Passion

Nola 4 Nepal

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Hi readers,
I hope you’re all doing well. I’m replacing my monthly Freret Neighborhood Center update with a call to action as I find that there aren’t many things that are currently more important than what’s happening in Nepal. Sorry to go all Sarah McLachlan on y’all, but I’ve spent the past few days feeling completely helpless and heartbroken. It is extremely important that we support relief efforts in Nepal right now. Some reports say the death toll from the damages caused by these earthquakes has reached over 5,000, and that this devastation is likely to cost billions of dollars. Nepal is one of the poorest countries on earth and was low on resources even before this disaster hit. At least 1.4 million people are in need of food, clean water, shelter, and medical aid. We in New Orleans know quite a bit about the devastation a natural disaster can cause, and how much time and money it can take to rebuild both its structure and its hope for the future, and we’re in a first world country.
There are loads of organizations on the ground giving aid, but I was initially hesitant to donate as some larger ones are notorious for misrepresenting their spending. From what research I’ve done, it seems that donating through the following organizations is kosher:

1. NYANO SANSAR — I met my friend (and hero) Max Dipesh Khatri during my first visit to Nepal in 2012, and since then he has started an incredible nonprofit called Nyano Sansar. The organization and its volunteers focus on distributing blankets and warm clothing and supplying medical care to underprivileged residents of Nepal’s southern plains during its dangerously cold winters. Max is a powerhouse for good and is currently on the ground volunteering at a Kathmandu hospital to help with the relief efforts. He and his team can certainly use our support, and he has requested that people donate via nepalshare.org > “Get Involved” > “Donate”. Max will report on how funds will be used as the dust settles. It’s my understanding that donations will support more long-term recovery efforts as opposed to immediate relief.


2. GlobalGiving — Text GIVE NEPAL to 80088 to donate $10 to Nepal earthquake relief funds. For non-US phones and/or larger donations (or for more info / documentation on this org), please visit this site. “Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted local organizations.”

3. Shikshya Foundation Nepal — Another way to donate is via Nepali designer Prabal Gurung’s organization Shikshya Foundation Nepal. 100% of contributed funds are addressing the latest needs on the ground. Donations will go towards medical support, search and rescue services, emergency shelters, as well as getting food and water to local populations.

4. NOLA 4 NEPAL — Tibetan House is a little shop over on Tchoupitoulas. They have direct connections with Nepali families in dire need of water, food, and electricity. They currently have an indiegogo campaign up, and are seeking donations for the families they’re connected with. They’re also holding open prayer nights and invite people to come and send thoughts and positive energy to Nepal. Although opening our wallets is the absolute best way to support Nepal right now, it is an incredibly spiritual country and I strongly believe that many victims find comfort in the fact that the world is praying for them.


5. Louisiana Himalaya Association — This organization’s main projects are in Dharamsala, India, which was not physically affected by the earthquake. However, many of their volunteers and Tibetan staff-members have family and friends in Nepal. They are collecting funds for long-term recovery efforts, and you can donate here.


Facebook is also matching donations to International Medical Corps up to $2 million.

I urge you to give to at least one of these organizations. I wish I could find the words to describe my experience of Nepal’s beautiful spirit and warm, generous people, but I’m not sure that I can. Since I first visited a few years ago, I’ve often said that a big part of my heart is in Nepal. I’ve never before felt so at home in a place so foreign, and I can assure you that the beautiful people of this far off kingdom would welcome you without hesitation as well.
Remember that every little bit helps, and in the wise words of the Dalai Lama: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
Please keep my Nepali friends in your thoughts and prayers, particularly those whose safety has not yet been confirmed.
Namaste, and thanks for reading.
love, liz
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Our trekking group once we reached the top of Thorung-la Pass in the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas after 12 long days on foot. Sudeep, our guide in the blue shirt, is safe. I have not gotten word from Nagandra or Calyan, the other two Nepali guys pictured here.

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Bhaktapur is an area that has sustained a great deal of damage. The shrine in the center of this photograph is now completely demolished, along with 80% of the surrounding structures.

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At Or2k in Thamel with my friend Max (right, back) who started the organization Nyano Sansar and who is currently on the ground aiding in relief efforts.

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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