Nepal Earthquake 2015 – Relief Fund Update #3

We apologize for the limited communication in these past few weeks. It has been an interesting time for us with some unexpected twists and turns, but we are happy to report that we’re back on track and have some exciting news to share with you!

Many of you know that we left Nepal for 12 days at the end of May because of delays in my visa application process. For those of you who didn’t know, allow me to explain further: My tourist visa was set to expire in early June, but my student visa application was significantly delayed because of the earthquake. By leaving the country for two weeks, we effectively ‘stopped the clock’ on my tourist visa and bought some time for the student visa paperwork to be processed through Nepal’s (painfully slow) bureaucratic system. We regretted having to leave the country at such a time, but if I had stayed and the student visa did not get processed before my tourist visa expired, I would have been forced to leave Nepal for 7 months (until the new calendar year in 2016). Drew and I are both committed to relief efforts here in Nepal, and were determined to avoid a situation in which I would have to be out of the country for so long. And so, we headed to Malaysia, using the opportunity to get some much needed rest and relaxation. We returned to Kathmandu on June 3rd, refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges ahead. (And, I’m happy to report that I now have my student visa in hand!)

We hit the ground running upon our return, planning and conducting two art workshops for children affected by the earthquake with our friends Bikram and Bimal. Do you remember them from previous Relief Fund updates? Supplies loaded into a taxi headed back to their home where Bikram and Bimal organize, pack, and head out on their bikes...Our goal was to provide materials and opportunity for children to engage in art-making as a way to relax and unwind amidst the extreme stress of the earthquake, the aftershocks, and the ensuing aftermath (in all its forms). It is our feeling that art-making can be a healing and restorative act, and that giving children the opportunity to make art is one small way to help them process the trauma that they’ve experienced. Our first workshop was held on June 13th in Paiyatar, near Jarankhu, in northern Kathmandu… IMG_0197

Although many people have headed back indoors, some are still camping out in this area...

Although many people have headed back indoors, some are still camping outside in this area…

We set up six different ‘art stations’ which the children were encouraged to work at as they pleased. Activities included group mural painting, life-sized self-portraits, drawing, collage, paper folding, and mask-making. With over 80 children in attendance, the concept of ‘organized chaos’ was certainly in full effect – we made a mess and had a TON of fun!

The kids waiting excitedly while we got set up...

The kids waiting excitedly while we set up… (Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

Bikram talking to the kids about the art activities that were available...

Bikram talking to the kids about the art activities that were available…

Everyone busy at work...

And… ready, set, go! Many busy little hands folding, gluing, cutting, drawing, painting…

IMG_0333 IMG_0334 IMG_0337 IMG_0292 IMG_0289 IMG_0310 IMG_0311 IMG_0287 IMG_0307 IMG_0349 IMG_0302 IMG_0301 IMG_0313 IMG_0331 IMG_0343

(Photo from Bimal & Bikram Karki)

(Photo from Bimal & Bikram Karki)

Busy hands sometimes mean dirty hands!

Busy hands sometimes make dirty hands… but that’s the best part!

At the end of it all, there were many proud artists sharing their work with us…

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

IMG_0296 IMG_0298 IMG_0314 IMG_0332 IMG_0322 IMG_0346 IMG_0284

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

Lots of great work, waiting to go home...

Lots of great work, waiting to go home…

We were very grateful to have the help of Bikram’s wife Binita, Bikram and Bimal’s mother and sister-in-law, and several other adults from the community. It would have been nearly impossible without them!

“Bonita Binita,” Bikram’s lovely wife helping out…

IMG_0270

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

(Photo from Bikram & Bimal Karki)

We held our second workshop two days later down the road near the hill-top village of Dharmasthali. This village suffered severe damage in the earthquake…. IMG_0240 IMG_0237

A photograph of the town square before the earthquake...

A photograph of the town square before the earthquake…

... and the town square about 6 weeks after the earthquake.

… and the town square about 6 weeks after the earthquake. Many homes collapsed here…

At the bottom of the hill, the Guiness Public Secondary English School is currently holding classes in a temporary structure because their original building was badly cracked in the earthquake and is no longer safe… IMG_0205 We set up art stations inside the shell of their new school building (currently under construction) for over 50 children in 1st – 6th grade. Like in Paiyatar, the children participated in painting, drawing, collage, and mask-making activities…

The art stations all set up and ready to go...

The art stations all set up and ready to go…

Busy, busy, busy!

Busy, busy, busy!

IMG_0398 IMG_0389 IMG_0392  IMG_0418 IMG_0397 IMG_0384 IMG_0381 IMG_0386 IMG_0385 IMG_0403 IMG_0415

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

Like at our first workshop, there were many proud artists sharing their work with us…

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

IMG_0422 IMG_0420

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

IMG_0412

Many great paintings drying in the sun...

Many great paintings drying in the sun…

We attracted much attention from the older children in 7th – 10th grade, and are already making plans to go back with activities geared towards their age group next time… IMG_0374

This group insisted that they at least get a photo taken, even though they didn't get a chance to make art this time...

They  insisted that they at least get a photo taken, even though they didn’t get a chance to make art this time…

Again, we had great help…I don’t know what we would have done without the teachers!

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

(Photo from Bikram Karki)

We look forward to continuing our art workshops in these areas in the future (and possibly in other areas as well). Because of your generous donations, bringing art programming to these children is possible. Thank you!

A part of the 'art team' - Bimal and Drew weren't able to be there for the second workshop, but they were there in spirit!

Part of our team (Brenna, Binita, and Bikram) – Bimal and Drew weren’t able to be there for the second workshop, but they were there in spirit!

Drew and I are also happy to report that we are making significant progress on a temporary shelter project for the coming monsoon season. We have connected with the folks at Project EK, a grassroots organization that has been doing great work coordinating the providing of shelters to those in need since the earthquake. They helped us determine the design for our shelters, as well as helped us locate a local company that provides all the materials necessary for construction. The basic shelter looks like this… IMG_0494 Once these materials are delivered, the villagers will receive training on how to construct them, and will also be responsible for covering the sides of the structures using local/salvaged materials. This can be done in a variety of ways, as I saw during my recent visit to Dharmasthali… IMG_0216 IMG_0235 IMG_0241 (Villagers will be strongly encouraged to consider adequate cross-ventilation while constructing their shelters).

We are still in the planning phase and details are currently being finalized, but we look forward to updating you with more specific information on this project very soon! Lastly, for those of you that are interested, here are this week’s numbers-

Funds raised since our last update (May 17th): $1,495
Total funds raised: $9,692.36
Funds spent since our last update (May 17th): $388.13
Total funds spent: $2,574.61
Funds leftover for future relief work: $7,117.75

Thank you so much, again, for your many generous donations! We are honored and humbled by your support and your trust. If you know of anybody else who might be interested in donating, please send them to our original appeal for donations HERE. More updates coming soon. For now, here are a few more wonderful pieces of art from our workshops to make you smile (they are just too good not to share!)… IMG_0330

Pencil shavings become flowers... Brilliant!

Pencil shavings become flower petals… Brilliant!

The finished mural from the Guiness School workshop...

The finished mural from the Guiness School workshop…

8 thoughts on “Nepal Earthquake 2015 – Relief Fund Update #3

  1. Brenna, you are doing a magnicent job working with the children to find outlets for art expression after earthquakes in Nepal. This is valuable and needed work. Thank you, your team and the children for responding so beautifully! My love and support continue with you!!
    Cam

  2. Pingback: Nepal Earthquake 2015 – Relief Fund Update #6 and New Call for Donations | Home is Where the Hair Is

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