To our Dearest Friends and Family,
Since the devastating earthquake on April 25th, many of you have expressed your love, concern, and support for us and all of those affected here in Nepal. For this we are forever grateful. We were very lucky in that our building survived the quake and we had many wonderful neighbors taking care of us during those first few uncertain and frightening days. Countless people in Nepal, though – particularly in rural areas outside of the Kathmandu valley – were not so lucky. Many of you have asked us how you can help, and after several days scouring media reports, researching organizations, and exploring the grassroots relief efforts here in Kathmandu, we have some ideas.
Many of our friends and acquaintances here, Nepalis and foreigners alike, are involved in coordinating relief to affected areas. It has been very encouraging to see so many people doing all they can to help with whatever means they have available! In general, we’ve found that it works like this: small groups of volunteers take on one location at a time, buy aid materials here in Kathmandu, and then transport those materials out to their designated location (areas that have yet to receive much -or any- aid, both within and outside the Kathmandu Valley). At this time, this seems to be one of the quickest and most effective ways of providing relief to earthquake victims, particularly in hard-to-reach rural communities. We have decided that one of the best ways we can contribute directly to this relief effort is to work alongside these ‘distribution teams,’ sourcing and purchasing the desperately needed aid materials here in Kathmandu, that are then delivered by local people whom we know and trust.
We have already begun working in this capacity in the past several days, buying medicines, tarps for shelter, dry foods, material for sleeping pads, soaps, hand-sanitizers, and more. Please see the chart below for a detailed list of materials we’ve purchased, their cost, and where these materials have been distributed thus far:
|Large roll of foam for sleep pads||4,000 NPR / approx. $40||Rural Lalitpur|
|Plastic tarps for shelter||51,924 NPR / approx. $519.24||Rural Lalitpur, Nallu, Chalnakhel|
|Soap and hand sanitizers||3,476 NPR / approx. $34.76||Rural Lalitpur & Nallu|
|Plastic buckets for water collection||1,980 NPR / approx. $19.80||Rural Lalitpur & Nallu|
|Basic medicines (antibiotics, pain relievers, etc.)||9,895 NPR / approx. $98.95||Nallu, Kavre, Dholaka|
|Dry food goods (lentils, rice,etc.)||3,000 NPR / approx. $30.00||Chalnakhel|
|Solar charger for satellite phone, for use on relief fact-finding mission to Langtang/Rasuwa district||13,000 NPR / approx. $130||Langtang/Rasuwa district, potentially for use in other locations as well|
|Transportation||1,300 NPR / approx. $13||N/A|
|ATM fees||2,400 NPR / approx. $24||N/A|
|TOTAL:||90,975 NPR / approx. $909.75|
Of course, we were already on a tight budget here in Kathmandu before the earthquake (we are an artist and anthropology grad-student, after all), so we cannot do this work alone. THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN! We hope that you, our family and friends, will consider donating directly to us so that we can recoup what we’ve already spent and continue to purchase supplies for immediate relief efforts in the weeks to come.
We also hope to raise enough money to be able to help in the next stages of relief and rebuilding by helping to build semi-permanent structures for those now left homeless. We are planning to work alongside our good friend and Nepali “bhai” (little brother), Sunil Tamang, to source materials for his home village of Syaphru Bensi (Rasuwa district) where many homes in the historic section of town have been completely destroyed or rendered inhabitable. This is a very important task, as monsoon season fast approaches and people need adequate shelter to weather the daily storms. Drew has known Sunil and his family since 2002, when they hosted him while he was working on a research project in Syaphru Bensi for four months. The ties between Drew’s and Sunil’s families run long and deep, and we have complete trust in Sunil to smartly and appropriately guide us in using the funds we raise for his home village.
We realize that donating money through an unofficial channel such as this is not a perfect system – your donation will not be tax deductible, and some of the funds you donate will be used to pay ATM fees (it’s primarily a cash economy here), and transportation costs for us as we move through the city delivering supplies to the distribution groups. However, we believe that at this time this is the best and most direct method for us to get relief materials to those in need. Unfortunately, the government and international NGO response has been slow, and remains spotty throughout the affected areas in Nepal. Even now, over a week after the earthquake, many people still do not have tents, food or emergency medical supplies. We have also heard reports of corruption and relief material unfairly distributed. While we are heartened to see the larger government and international relief efforts beginning to gain steam (of course, grassroots relief alone is not sufficient to handle this entire humanitarian crisis), it remains to be seen when and to what extent they will provide aid to all affected communities. We are also discouraged by reports of mismanagement and delays of aid materials in customs, and by the government’s recent decision to seize privately-provided relief funds. Within this environment, we believe small-scale, direct deposits into our American bank accounts will be most effective. Because you know and trust us, you can be certain that we will use your money for relief efforts and that your dollars will get supplies directly into the hands of those that need them.
We are committed to total transparency, and will send a weekly report via email to donors with the amount of funds raised, how they’ve been used that week, and (if applicable) the amount leftover that will be used on future relief efforts.
READY TO DONATE? Here’s how:
We have two ways that you can donate directly to our relief efforts…
1) Via your PayPal account-
- Click “Send money to a friend” at the top of the page.
- Type in Brenna’s email address: email@example.com, and the amount being sent.
- Click “Next.”
- Review and confirm the information on the screen and click “Send.”
OR 2) Via Popmoney through your online banking system or Popmoney’s website– Search HERE to see if your bank offers Popmoney’s service directly. If it does, log into your online banking account and follow instructions to send money to Brenna’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Or you can sign up for a Popmoney account HERE and follow directions to send funds to Brenna’s email address.
UPDATE: We are no longer accepting funds via Popmoney. We apologize for any inconvenience!
*** If you would like to make a contribution greater than $1,000 -THANK YOU VERY MUCH!- but please contact us directly via email before transferring the funds.***
STILL NOT SURE? Please consider donating to one of these local non-profit organizations instead. (As far as we know, because these organizations existed before the earthquake, the government cannot seize their funds).
We know it can be difficult to choose an organization for your donation dollars when you are out of country. And although there are many groups doing good work here in Nepal, all of the organizations listed below have been recommended to us by trusted locals and/or foreign researchers who know the country well:
- Kathmandu Living Labs – A great local organization doing essential open-source mapping work to help coordinate relief efforts. The Nepalese Army has been using their website, quakemaps.org, to coordinate their aid missions in the past few days!
- Sam’s House – An orphanage based in Pokhara that was founded by our friend, Christopher John Patrick, an American researcher with a long history in Nepal. All donations received before May 25th will be used for earthquake relief.
- Dzi Foundation – A local non-profit that currently serves almost 30,000 people in an expanding network of remote villages, focusing primarily on basic infrastructure like school buildings, toilets, drinking water systems and bridges as well as agriculture initiatives. They have set up a special fund for earthquake relief (tax deductible donation confirmed).
- Educate the Children – A local non-profit that focuses on children’s education, women’s empowerment, and agricultural development in marginalized communities. They’ve set up a fund for earthquake releif (tax deductible donation confirmed).
- Samaanta Foundation – Local non-profit that aims to promote equality and empowerment by providing quality higher education to students from poor socio-economic backgrounds – special earthquake relief fundraising is being collected (tax deductible donation confirmed).
- Global Giving – An international fundraising platform that gets money into the hands of vetted, local organizations working on earthquake relief (tax deductible donation confirmed).
THANK YOU for your love, support, and your donation. No amount is too small – remember, even a donation of $10 can go a long way. Whether you give directly to us or to one of the organizations on our list, your money will go to good use here in Nepal as we recover and rebuild.
Love, Brenna & Drew