Thanks to the prompt and compassionate responses of PovertySwap friends following the Nepal Earthquake on April 12th £3000 for the benefit of earthquake victims was raised in just 2 days. Donations are still arriving and following the May12 earthquake the fund has grown to almost £6000. It has always been our intention to place the funds directly with our trusted co-workers in Nepal who are tasked with the role of finding where those funds can be best used for the benefit of those who need it most.
As cash, cheques, online donations, group collections and retail collection boxes were being thrust our way someone, with that feeling of hopelessness that surely arrives with every new media account, questioned what use a donation of £20 would be amongst so much need. The story that is unfolding amongst the rubble of Nepal's villages is incredibly moving and we are enouraged that our personal hands-on approach has proved vital for those at the sharpest end of the pain, even in the midst of catastrophic disaster.
Reaching the unreachable
Both of our co-workers in the Katmandhu area are known to us and we heard from one immediately after the earthquake, relating his experiences of the continuing shocks and tremors. We were instantly able to instruct him to find those who would be able to put PovertySwap donations to best use for the benefit of the most vulnerable victims of the earthquake. Within days he was able to provide us with sufficient information for us to begin to transfer some of the funds. The organisation he partnered with have sent teams into the worst affected areas. This organisation works in a very similar way to our own core values. They are working in a very personal way with local people for the well-being of their communities. The emergency funding we sent will provide in the first instance clean water, food, shelter and sanitation with teams in place over a longer period during the months ahead to assist families as they rebuild their homes and lives.
Another group was in preparation to take vital supplies to remote areas when the May 12th earthquake hit and their plans had to be reassessed. Himself a shocked member of the Kathmandhu community that has faced so much destruction, fear and frustration we are thankful that our co-worker has been working tirelessly to find those we can best help.
Loving Your Neighbour
In 2008 I travelled to Nepal with a group from Glasgow University. It was part of our field-trip to stay with local families for some nights and work with parents and people from the village to build some new classrooms onto their school. During these years I have maintained contact with my host family. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake contact with that area was difficult. We heard from a number of sources that people were safe but that there had been much destruction of property.
After an anxious week we heard from our co-worker that people were without food or clothing. We remembered the rice and vegetables that are the staple diet in those homes and realised that to be without basic supplies is truly disastrous. Often livestock, the harvest and food supplies, grown in the fields around, are carefully stacked in store rooms of homes. A vital supply for the family's needs. When those houses came down so did their ability to survive. In the shock of those first weeks life becomes a deadly game of survival, even as the ground continues to heave and shake. We wanted to play our part. In the first instance we passed on £200 for use amongst local victims. Our co-worker himself had lost no property and was keen to help those on the worst affected ridge, relatively closeby.
Receipts for PovertySwap donations come in a variety of forms. We have everything from neatly typed letters to quickly scribbled notes with the amount, the date and a known signature. But the receipt that arrived from this village must touch the heart of even the most cynical. There on an A4 sheet of paper, folded and torn as it has clearly been carried from place to place in someone's pocket, stained and grainy with the dust of tons of rubble that used to be people's homes, it contains the names, and signatures of 21 householders, each one given an equal share amounting to less than £10 each! Names ike, Ram, Rupa, Dharba, could be the equivalent of your neighbours, Bob, Grace, Alan. These are very ordinary people whose neighbour, when faced with their need, saw a way to help.
After his tour of distribution he wrote: "Villagers said to you Thank you very very much to helpng and supporting us and thank you from myside also god bless you. I had given that money to the victim family, per family RS1500.... there are more victim family". We were happy to send a further £500 for the immediate benefit of earthquake victims in that village and it is our intention to carry on with our plan this year to visit in November.
What Can I Do Now?
We will continue to administer the Nepal Earthquake Emergency Fund for some months so we shall be happy to receive your coninued dontions, fundraising, sponsored events and the like for that. However if you want to contribute to a regular sum to help rebuild Nepal's Broken Homes then do set up a standing order with your bank for any amount and we will get it to them on a regular basis.
Thank you to everyone who made this all possible.