Wind of Change International
Recent Earthquake in Nepal
Life at Onni Children's House continues normally: We are very happy and relieved to share with you that despite the recent earthquake in Nepal, everyone at Onni and in our other projects in Pokhara remain unaffected by the devastating events, and are healthy and well. But as life continues on virtually as normal, we go forward with a great sense of appreciation for how lucky we are.
As we all know, on Anzac Day the 25th of April, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal killing over 8000 people, and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, vulnerable and scared. The fear of the unknown accentuated further when only 17 days later the country was struck by a very strong aftershock with a magnitude of 7.3, causing a lot less damage but still more loss of life and increasing uncertainty and fear in people's minds.
The epicentre of the earthquake was 80km from Kathmandu and the capital and surrounding areas suffered extensive damage. The most destruction and devastation, however, is being witnessed in small, rural villages at the epicentre that have been hard to reach due to the damaged roads and communication lines, and further difficulties with landslides blocking the entries. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods and are heading into the monsoon season with very little to protect them.
Soon after the earthquake Wind of Change board member Dr Paul Steinfort, an expert in Post Disaster Project Management and Reconstruction, was able to visit Nepal to help assess the earthquake response and recovery required. Dr Steinfort's rapid assessment of the situation confirmed the earlier reports on the nature and intensity of the destruction. For us personally, the most important piece of news from Paul was that after an extensive structural assessment on the property of Onni House, he could verify that the house had remained unaffected and was standing strong.
Further on a more personal note, whilst in Nepal last week on behalf of Wind of Change, Tuuli was privileged to participate in the emergency relief efforts with our partner organisations on the ground. As a part of an emergency response coalition we delivered emergency aid packages into the most devastated district of Sindhupalchowk to help the affected families. In addition Wind of Change is taking part in a national education relief program to help children who have lost their homes to return to school by providing them the necessary school supplies.
Please read more about the earthquake relief initiatives as well as our core work in Nepal. And forgive us for being delayed in delivering this news, obviously we have had a bit on our (tectonic) plates.
Stay safe and stable!
Tuuli and Carl
Wind of Change delivers emergency aid packages to earthquake victims: In the face of the trauma and devastation, together with our partner organisations on the ground, NCF Nepal and Namaste Foundation (The Netherlands), we have been involved in efforts to help the earthquake victims. After a day-long drive on difficult roads we were able to reach the remote district of Sindhupalchowk, an area east of Kathmandu where most destruction and the highest casualties have been reported, to deliver emergency aid packages and tents to the most affected families.
This area has lost more than 3000 people while only 5-10% of people's homes are still standing. We were received with open arms and hearts. What we saw and experienced will always stay in ours. People live in such fear and uncertainty yet they possess so much hope and trust for a better tomorrow. Indeed the only thing certain for this country and its resilient people is that there is years and years worth of work to rebuild and reconstruct the nation.
Wind of Change assisted with this emergency aid distribution as part of the emergency response coalition between the inter/national aid organisations and the Nepali government.
How You Can Help
Help the Earthquake victims:
In addition to the emergency relief distributions, Wind of Change is supporting a local, government-coordinated Education Relief Program to provide some urgently needed school supplies for the children in the affected villages. Tens of thousands of children remain vulnerable and hundreds if not thousands of schools have been destroyed or are unsafe to use. Temporary school establishments are being built in the hope that these children could at least continue their regular schooling in spite of the challenging circumstances.
Our Nepali partner organisation Namaste Community Foundation is cooperating with the Kaski District Education Office to distribute some of the urgently needed school supplies in the devastated districts. Due to the difficult situation the beginning of the new school year has been postponed until the 29th of May. With the support of their international partner organisations, NCF is pledging to help 500 affected children to deliver them the school supplies, including uniforms by 1st of June. A total cost for one child is AUD$38 / 27€. Click here if you would like to help this initiative.
We cannot enough emphasise how important your continuous support is to our work in Nepal. Thank you everyone for being an integral part of this success story. We would particularly like to thank:
- Namaste Community Foundation
- Global Development Group
- Pitcher Partners
- Cooper investors
- PSA Project
- Central Hotel, Verbier
- Child Sponsors
Donate: To make a donation please click here.
All donations towards our Nepal Program are tax-deductible in Australia and the US.
Life at Onni House continues to flourish: Despite the recent saddening developments in Nepal, we are fortunate to report that everyone and everything in our corner of the country is well and healthy. The life in Onni Children's House virtually continues as normal in spite of a few excitements when the recurring aftershocks regularly come rumbling through the ground.
The first earthquake happened on a Saturday which is a day-off from school so all the children were at home and the staff could quickly recover the children and run outside to an open space. The large aftershock happened while the children were at school on a Tuesday. The story goes that "the Ma'am shouted "earthquake earthquake" and everyone ran outside screaming and yelling".
The children are processing the events with a lot of story-telling and humour and seem to be unaffected by the events. Sad to say but in a country where the newspapers are constantly reporting hardship and devastation caused by fatal landslides and avalanches, the children unfortunately grow up accustomed to yet another disaster. With this one, however, there is a special sense of togetherness and connection and even the children are planning ways to help the victims of "the Quakes".
Otherwise life at Onni goes on as its happy self. Another school year came to an end in April with all the children progressing to the next class with good grades. And the one sure constant thing is, every time we see each other the children have again grown taller and stronger, that is just unstoppable!
The Scholarship Distribution Day: On May 22nd, the half yearly distribution of educational resources such as textbooks, stationery, school uniforms etc. took place for the 120 children enrolled in the scholarship program run by our local partner Namaste Community Foundation.
NCF Scholarship Programme was developed in August 2004 as a result of fieldwork. When visiting villages and rural areas, many families were found to be without the financial resources to send their children to school, although they were quite capable of looking after their own children with some financial help. Therefore, NCF decided to support these children in attending the local government school by helping them with admittance fees and by covering other costs such as medical expenses, books and uniforms related to their attendance at the school. Depending on the financial situation of the family, children are provided with either full or partial scholarships. NCF monitors the attendance and performance of all of the scholarship children.
Wind of Change continues to provide support towards this program, as well as assisting with the educational costs of the 40 children who reside in Namaste Children’s House.
We see education as one of the main priorities of the work that we do, and through supporting the scholarship program and the NCH children, we are able to expand our reach to help more children in the community, and give them the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their families.
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