Sunday, May 17, 2015

You Can Help Nepal - Earthquake #2

Another earthquake. Aftershocks for days. 

You feel helpless. You can't just hop on a plane and fly over to help. Besides, you wouldn't know how to help when you got there.
Then there are way too many places soliciting for money to help Nepal. How do you know if your money is going to actually help people in Nepal? 

I know. I feel the same way!
Well lucky for you! I have a solution.

The EWB-UF Nepal Team has been dedicated to helping the community of Khanalthok since September 2013 and we aren't stopping now. Four days ago a second earthquake hit Nepal. This second earthquake hit Khanalthok harder than the first one did. Nobody was hurt, but more houses were structurally compromised, some important livestock were killed and more people need your help. 

Would you consider donating to help Khanalthok for both short term relief and long term development? 

In addition to our commitment to the community through Engineers Without Borders, our team has committed to raising money to send to Khanalthok for immediate earthquake relief. After postponing travel in the wake of the initial earthquake, our team is not sure when we are going to be able to visit the community for our secondary assessment trip. It could be August, December, or even next summer. Between now and the next time we are able to travel, whenever it may be, we are going to give 20% of all donations to immediate relief. 

Meet our friend Shree Krishna Dhital. (Also how cute is that goat, I can't resist a picture of a cute goat. One day Goats Without Borders will be a real thing.)

Shree's House after the first earthquake. 
Shree is from a community near Khanalthok called Phoolbari that was rocked by the earthquakes. He has contributed a great deal to earthquake relief in Phoolbari with the Rotary Club of Dhulikhel and Rotary Community Corps Simalchaur. Shree has agreed to visit Khanalthok in the coming weeks to see how he and his affiliates can help. The 20% of your donations will go straight to Shree's efforts in Khanalthok and surrounding areas.

Despite his own personal devastation, Shree is dedicated to working to help his community. This is what Shree has been working on in and around Phoolbari.

These buckets are filled with basic toiletries and some food items to be distributed in Phoolbari.
150+ relief packages were distributed.

Shree was working in a Relief Plus health camp distributing relief packages and providing health checkups in Phoolbari Village when the 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit on May 12.

"More than 200 people were present in the program and suddenly the earthquake hit the ground frightening the people around."
-Shree Krishna Dhital

Many people are using their old roofs to build temporary shelter. Building requires little technical knowledge and less manpower. They use the local available resources and techniques.

After the second earthquake hit Nepal, most of the people are staying outside, either building a new temporary shelter or a tarp shelter. 
-Shree Krishna Dhital

Unfortunately, the corrugated metal roofing material makes the shelters very cold during the nights and very hot during the days.

These buckets contain rice, lentils, cereals, sugar, salt, spices, oil, plates, spoons, and a jug that will sustain a family of five for a week. These were distributed before the second earthquake.

So here's the deal. 20% of all direct donations between now and our secondary assessment trip will go directly to earthquake relief. No big NGOs. No travel funds. The money will go straight to Khanalthok. 
The rest of your donation will go to long term development in the village. But the awesome part is that the long term development of the village is also a way for us young engineers to gain experience with real life engineering and to widen our perspectives. So you get to kill two birds with one stone. You get to help the long term development of Khanalthok while growing the next generation of globally minded engineers. Sounds pretty great, huh?

So are you ready to help? Click the button below to donate. Make sure that you specify in the donation form's comments that the money is for Nepal. 

We can't do this without your help! Thank you for your continuous interest in our project and your ongoing support!

Photos courtesy of Shree Krishna Dhital.

Monday, May 11, 2015

15 Days

It was not just another Saturday morning of me scrolling through my news feed. One of my friends had posted “felt an earthquake and it was crazy”. Because nowadays people often post anything, I thought it was a good joke, and went on scrolling down. A few more of my friends said similar things about an earthquake they felt. However, what I saw in the pictures posted was shocking. One after another, I saw building, historic monuments and landmarks either collapsed or completely destroyed beyond recognition. Some people posted pictures juxtaposing the original and the destroyed side by side. My mom was on the phone trying to reach our family members back home in Nepal. Phones weren't working, but after a while we reached one of my aunts and I heard her say, “Earthquakes haven’t stopped all day today, we heard many places around Kathmandu have been destroyed and almost 600 people have died.” Apparently, the aftershocks were still going on in many places around Nepal.

It’s been 15 days since the devastating earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday. I've seen hundreds of photos of the places I grew up around turned into rubble. The death toll has been constantly rising and has exceeded 7,000 according to the official figures. For the affected people in Nepal, their lives will never be the same. There is pain, suffering and loss. However, among all the tragic stories, there are also many stories of bravery and resilience. There are people coming together all around the world for Nepal. People who are traveling to Nepal to provide a helping hand, who are donating the limited amount of money they have, who are showing support through art, music, social media and speeches. 

There are many organization and campaigns you can join and donate to help Nepal in this time of need. The Nepalese Students Association at the University of Florida has been working with Action Works Nepal organization to provide immediate relief to the people most affected in Nepal and also working towards long term development of the affected areas. If you would like to donate/learn more about the organization, please visit

I believe, even if we are hurt, we are stronger than ever. Even if we wake up every morning hoping this was only a bad dream, we can get through this. We will continue to inspire each other with our compassion and love. We are broken but not defeated.

Stay Strong,

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

One Year

One year ago today our 2014 travel team visited the community of Khanalthok for the first time.

Today my heart misses the foothills that make up the community of Khanalthok. I miss the smell of branches burning in the terraced fields being readied for planting season. I miss the happy faces of our homestay family welcoming us for the first time.

Continue to keep Khanlathok and the rest of Nepal in your thoughts and prayers. We are still deciding the best way to help the community from Gainesville as the earthquake has caused this year's trip to be postponed. For now, I'm going to reread last year's posts and relive my time in Khanalthok.

Praying for Nepal,

Friday, May 1, 2015

Earthquake: In the News

On Tuesday evening Fox 35 News Orlando did a story on our trip to Nepal. 

Our trip has been postponed indefinitely, but our hearts go out to everyone in Nepal as they work with relief organizations and work toward returning to normal. As much as everyone on our team wants to go and help right now,we have postponed our trip so that we can best help the people we serve in Khanalthok when we do go. 


Check out the original Fox 35 article here.