One month after the earthquake, an update on Helambu Project’s work

As you undoubtedly know, Nepal has been hit by two major earthquakes (and hundreds of aftershocks – some quite big) in recent weeks. The first earthquake hit with its epicenter at Gorkha (northwest of Kathmand)u on April 25th, the second with an epicenter at Dolakha (northeast of Kathmandu) on May 12th. The Helambu region lies in between the two and was deeply affected by both. Nationwide, over 8,000 have lost their lives, tens of thousands have lost their homes and millions are affected.

Helambu too has been badly affected. Many villages, like Gangkharka where Helambu Project has had a long presence, are completely destroyed. Thousands of homes and schools have collapsed, taking school books, household goods, and personal objects with them. Access to villages has been difficult due to landslides; the monsoons will begin in a few weeks, turning the landslides into mudslides and making life more difficult. The most immediate needs remain food and shelter. Reconstruction will come next. Concerns are growing about increased violence against women too, an issue Helambu Project is investigating addressing.

Helambu Project Nepal-based staff remain tirelessly involved in relief efforts. We’ve teamed up with local partner Helambu Education and Livelihood Partnership (HELP) who have a deep and long presence and involvement in education in the region. Helambu Project is helping with funding, administration and logistics. We’ve assisted HELP in procuring books for students of Manikanteshwori School in Kul (USD $1,000), blankets for 853 households in Bhotenamlang VDC (USD $8,530), and materials and labor to supply drinking water to Ichowk School (USD $750). As you can see, a little funding truly goes a long way.

In the UK, Dr. Mike Steven and Matt Dodds are fundraising to help this all happen. Both Mike and Matt are very grateful for the various personal donations made to them and from fundraising efforts from previous UK based Helambu Project volunteers. A recent Malaysian banquet night organised by Bernadette Bouchet also helped raised over £500 and on May 26th, Dr. Mike will speak to Banchory Academy students who are fundraising by selling copies of their class novels.

In the medium to long term or focus will be on reestablishing the schools throughout Helambu. As all of the HP team work on a voluntary basis, any donations will continue to go directly to local communities. You can contribute from anywhere by donating on our website. Due to the low cost of local supplies, truly any amount makes a difference. Even $5 will buy a blanket for a family who may have lost everything. With the immediacy of the earthquake behind us, Nepal is starting to fade from the news cycle. But the damage is far from recovered and the needs remain immense. We hope you’ll help us work together with Helambu residents to get back to the business of regular life.

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