Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fundraising for Nepal

EI am quite certain people are sick to death of me thrashing this earthquake tragedy in Nepal, especially in a country yet to fully recover from its own quake. There are some stark differences though. Christchurch 2011was very centralised. It hit and hurt in Christchurch; the quake in Nepal had wide-spread destruction including deaths in neighbouring countries. New Zealand is not a 3rd world country. Nepal is. Rich in land, water and minerals, Nepal is poor in infrastructure. New Zealand by contrast had robust infrastructure and the quakes of 2011 caused fewer deaths as a result. This isn't a competition on who deserves more help; this is just a plea to realise how little money it actually takes to help someone in Nepal compared to how far that money would stretch in New Zealand.
People turn a blind eye; say well we have our own battles and troubles and stresses; and that is the cop-out. I am pulling no punches here - it is what it is. We are lucky in comparison; rich in comparison, and more resilient in comparison ... or are we? Had such mass devastation occurred here in our own country would we be as resilient as the Nepali? Sleeping under umbrellas as the Monsoon rains and winds beat down? I doubt it. The Nepali cannot go stay with a relative ... all the relatives are in exactly the same boat - homeless or near enough to it. I believe in this country's ability to bounce back; but it needs help from countries like New Zealand - who have knowledge and experience of earthquakes.
Nepal relies so heavily on tourism that it is vital the basic infrastructure is regained (better) in order to allow tourism to continue. This is very important. There is much of Nepal unaffected by the quakes that can still be visited for trekking. Whilst the Everest trekking routes will be out for a while, there is much that could be done in the name of "disaster relief tourism", the type of tourism that I believe can include making helping the main focus of the travel there - rather than going for trekking.  Right now, people would happily put tourists up (maybe even for free!) in return for getting their schools rebuilt (25,000 schools have been ruined); having homes rebuilt; rubble cleared ... there is much that can be done to help.

This is the story of Changunarayan in the Kathmandu Valley Bhaktapur region of Nepal

Changunarayan is home to the oldest Hindu temple in Nepal. It has enjoyed tourist interest and the local village people are able to earn a living from selling their artisan products. Many locals are subsistence farmers; living off less than $2.00 a day through farming.
There are around 500 people in this quaint UNESCO World Heritage site. Amongst those locals, is my friend Amanda, an American who runs a guest house there and is well-loved by the local people. She calls Nepal home. She says this is the country she will die in. 
She didn't get hurt in the quakes, and her resilience and fortitude have spurred volunteers to come and stay with her to help get the village back into some semblance of normalcy.

She has a plan to give away a trip to Nepal for two people, worth $10,000 as a possible prize for donating to her fundraising venture. Here is her link:


She offers rewards for making a donation - gorgeous rewards handmade from the village locals - thus keeping the locals in paid employment.  Its a win-win situation.  However, it is going to take thousands of donations in order to raise the money needed to rebuild this village.  Each house will cost around $9 -10,000 USD. That will provide the home owner with glassed windows, running water and an inside toilet - not normal amenities in rural Nepal.

Changunarayan was at one time, an island in the middle of a lake that is now Kathmandu Valley. It sits atop a hill with a commanding view out over the valley. The Changu Narayan temple sits on the very top but now is in ruins; a tourist attraction no more. UNESCO will take care of its rebuild, but who will rebuild the homes?

Amanda is strongly dedicated to getting the homes rebuilt in a way the preserves the quaint ancient style they had on the outside; whilst being robust and safe on the inside.
Making a generous donation will see this goal reached, but it takes many people making a donation. Many people reaching inside their hearts and their pockets to realise the part they could play in helping this village regain its former pride. One family at a time; these homes could be rebuilt. 

I also am running a fundraiser to help Amanda achieve this aim. Please check out my "give-a-little" page and please make a donation. I am sorry I offer no rewards apart from the warm-fuzzy you will feel from this. I may contact Amanda and ask her to post me some hand-made goodies from her village which I could offer as a reward and as an incentive for people to donate. 

I wish to see this village safe for the people who live there. I wish to see it rebuilt and I want to see this village rebuilt with my own eyes. I cannot believe how much this quake has grasped me. I have always had a place in my heart for Nepal. It has always felt like my spiritual home even though I haven't been there. There is just something about it that has drawn me there; as such, the earthquakes have really hit a spot in me; they have really opened a strong desire to do something to help...not just talk about it, but actually do it.

Heres my page: 

As we move into winter here in New Zealand, please spare a thought for those people in Nepal living out in the weather; too afraid to go back into the wrecks that are their homes.
Please make a donation and encourage your circle of friends and family to do the same.

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