(7 September, 2015) – Update on our work in Nepal after the earthquakes – April and May 2015

(7 September, 2015) – Update on our work in Nepal after the earthquakes – April and May 2015

Funds that have been raised –

Through your generosity we have raised over $100,000, and it continues to flow in.

EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS to all of you who have donated, and told us “spend it where it will do the most good” – we’re grateful to you for your generosity, and your trust.

Here’s what we’ve done, and are doing  – This is a partial list. Sorry that it’s so long – As Mark Twain reportedly said “If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter.”

 

WHAT WE DID RIGHT AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE

400 Tarpaulins for temporary shelter were brought in from India and distributed.

Stove Under Tarp

Water Purification Systems

24 family systems were distributed in the immediate aftermath of the Earthquake.

38 small community-scale systems are en-route to Nepal for extended distribution –

Special thanks to EarthEasy/LifeStraw and MSR/Cascade Designs for making these excellent systems available and affordable.

MSR Global Health is focused on improving access to food, water, shelter and mobility.

 

Solar Lighting Systems

Locally sourced solar systems were provided to the Nuns of the Bigu convent – we taught them how to do the installation (“Women’s Empowerment”), and they will move the systems when their facility is rebuilt.

An additional 200 Solar Lighting Systems are en-route from the US for the Langtang families (see below) and 81 additional families –

Special thanks to LuminAID for generous donation and support.

Based in WeWork River North in Chicago, LuminAID was originally created to address the realities of disaster zones. Survivors are often cut off from electrical grids required to power lighting for medical treatment.

Financial and Logistics support for initial relief and on-going reconstruction efforts –

Institutional Stoves for Mass Feeding

20 stoves have been delivered to end-users (or are about to be delivered) and are being used to provide community feeding in some of the hardest hit areas.

Details of where they are being used are below in the “Working with the Buddhist Monasteries and Convents” section.

Special thanks to Envirofit for financial and logistics support in obtaining these stoves getting them into Nepal.

100L Cutout

 

Domestic / Family stoves –

The village of Langtang was totally destroyed by avalanches after the first earthquake. Langtang was the hardest-hit village in Nepal.

Special thanks to the BBC for permission to use their video.

119 surviving families were air-evacuated to temporary quarters in the outskirts of Kathmandu, and will be moving back (and rebuilding) after the monsoon season is over.

Domestic/Family stoves were given to them:

Langtang Stove Delivery

They will be taking their new stoves with them – one less thing for them to worry about, and are getting the LuminAID Solar Lighting Systems when they reach Nepal.

 

Working with the Buddhist Monasteries and Convents

Our tireless and incredibly effective colleague, Jai Rajbhandari, sent us this summary:

After the devastating earthquake, most of the monasteries outside the Kathmandu Valley were badly hit or destroyed completely. Most of the buildings were made out of mud, stone and wood. After the quake most of the nuns and monks were shifted to Kathmandu by helicopter and buses.

For some it was easy to come to the capital but for some they had to go through different sort of hassles.  

Destroyed MonasterySome of them were accused of child trafficking as well.

We were approached by four different monasteries from Dolkha, a city on the north east of Kathmandu at a distance of 5 hours drive. Dolkha is the second city after Barpak, the first epicenter of the earthquake. Till this date Dolkha is getting after-shocks. The nuns and monks are staying in temporary shelter homes in Kathmandu built by different donors. Their monasteries are nothing more than a heap of stove and mud at present. Everything is needed to start from the scratch and they are not sure where to start.

To encourage and support them to move forward, we, as Himalayan Stove Project, have provided several pieces of institutional stoves to the monasteries. Biggu Gompa (Nunnery), Phulaune Gompa, Chotang community.

Kids in SchoolOther stoves are going to five communities in remote Northern Gorkha below Mt. Manaslu, three communities from Tipling below Mt. Gaurishankar and two stoves to the Monasteries and School in Lo Manthang (Upper Mustang).

The Biggu Gompa have young nuns who attend a school in Baudha. We have taken care of their school related expenses such as books, stationeries and some other necessities.

 

WHAT WE ARE DOING NOW

In addition to continuing with the projects described above, we are searching out additional needs where our capabilities can be useful.

One interesting project that “appeared” in the last few days, as reported by Jai, is:

“I just got an inquiry whether we can support an income generation project around Dolkha to come out from the stress of earthquake.  They want to start up shitake mushroom cultivation, which is good for that area. They are looking for a source of fund”.

 

Supporting Nepal’s Travel and Tourism Economy

Tourism is a major part of the economy of Nepal and provides lots of employment; particularly in the remote areas where we are active.

Encouraging people to come and visit Nepal NOW (the monsoons are almost over) will do a lot to help stabilize and restore the country’s economic health – plan a trip, and encourage your friends and colleagues to consider one.

Almost the entire country is safe and accessible – we are constantly obtaining up-to-the-minute information from a small group of trusted colleagues and correspondents regarding areas that are wonderful, safe and accessible, and will be posting (and continuously updating) this information on our website so that you will have current information on places to go and enjoy the splendors of this magnificent country and its wonderful people.

 

WHAT WE WILL BE DOING IN THE UPCOMING MONTHS

We are following a three-pronged approach:

#1 – Continuing with our primary mission of providing Clean CookStoves – Family / Domestic units and Institutional Stoves.

#2 – Delivering help, assistance and financial support for selected projects and communities, where we can continue in the role of catalyst to bring in other donors and support systems.

#3 – Continuing to engage in the process of providing reliable, credible information to help reboot the travel and tourism industry, which is a huge economic factor in Nepal.

The needs are enormous, and many opportunities exist where we can be catalysts in helping the people to become more self-sufficient, rather than just throwing money at a problem.


Last, but not least by any means, VERY, VERY, VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO JAI RAJBHANDARI, our trusted colleague and good friend in Kathmandu, who facilitated and implemented all these successful efforts in Nepal (while simultaneously dealing with his personal concerns of family, extended family and legions of friends).


THANKS, Jai; your help has been awesome – we couldn’t have done it without you.

 

Here’s an article that appeared about us recently:

http://voicesforbiodiversity.org/articles/clean-stoves-and-healthy-forests

 

Additional Projects being done by others that we have helped facilitate

Through our “CauseVox” fund-raising platform we facilitated fund raising for two associated organizations, which are using the substantial resources that we helped raise for their own projects.

More than $20,000 was raised for each of these consolidated efforts.

One of the organizations is T-HELP Nepal  – Trans-Himalayan Environment and Livelihoods Programs, Nepal; an association of like-minded people who believe in doing something positive that can bring changes in attitude and life style of people living in the Himalayan and hilly regions; (especially women), indigenous people and poor and backward communities), by building and implementing income generating programs through appropriate conservation and management programs and also promote sustainable tourism.

Here’s what they wrote us a few days ago:
“On the 5th of August we have handed over 41 semi-permanent shelters to 41 families in Harishiddhi and Bade Gau villages of Lalitpur district. The handling over was done with a small function which was attended mostly by women members of the community. We also apprised the group of the importance of sustainable livelihood through income generating programmes of  organic vegetable farming, mushroom growing and producing vermi compost for organic fertilizer. In addition to training on organic vegetable farming, mushroom growing and production of briquettes for alternate energy will also be given to these villagers all of whom are victims of the EQs. These would give them quick cash income and we are launching the trainings next week. All participants will be given seedlings for farming and tools for mushroom growing  and 1 machine will be given to each village for making the briquette for this initial income generating initiative”.

HSP hut 1

The second organization is one of our Himalayan Partners; Off the Wall Trekking – since the earthquake Ian and Sarita Wall have been devoting their efforts to rebuilding two villages, as well as revitalizing their trekking business to provide income for “their boys”; who’s livelihoods are dependent on a viable and thriving tourism economy.

Pix for Ian 1Pix for Ian 2

 

 

(Updated May 22) We are making progress in providing humanitarian relief to #NepalEarthquake victims, and beginning the reconstruction efforts

GumpaVillage

Gumpa Village

Our overarching goal is to provide as much emergency aid and redevelopment help as we can, with the support of our partners on the ground, and our donors and supporters.

Our activities vary from area to area, depending on the needs of the communities and the capabilities and reach of our partners.

Two villages where we are working with our long-time partners, Ian and Sarita Wall (Off the Wall Trekking) are Gumpa Village in Sindapulchowk District; the most hard-hit district in the first quake, and Megere Village in the Ramachamp District which suffered additional damage in the second quake.

Ian has now visited both villages; two grueling, overland trips, delivering emergency aid and emergency aid and assessing needs for redevelopment.

Megere Village

Megere Village

Donations to support the Gumpa Village and Megere Village efforts can be made here.

(It’s called the “Irish Effort” because Mike O’Shea was the sparkplug who started this fund, and many of his friends, colleagues and clients have contributed to it, very generously).

Gorkha District

Gorkha DistrictThe Gorkha District was at the epicenter of the first quake. We are working here with another long-time partner; The Gorkha Foundation. They have people on the ground there, directing and implementing their activities. We have sourced tents and tarpaulins for emergency relief; have 5 pair of large stoves on their way for mass feeding programs and have sourced metal roofing panels (from India) to provide more secure shelter during the monsoons and permanent roofing for reconstruction.

Finding the right location is important also, as the monsoon rains advance. The Gorkha Foundation team is helping with site selection and guidance as well as providing materials.

Donations to support our efforts in the Gorkha District can be made here.

Bungmati Project

Bungmati ProjectOur friend and colleague Jai Rajbhandari has evaluated the “Bungmati Project” initiated by Kathmandu University and local communities. Based upon his careful and thoughtful evaluation we have chosen to be a sponsor and active participant in this long-term restoration project. Work is already underway there.

Bungmati Project2Bungmati is a small town located 10 kilometers south of the heart of Kathmandu. The village has hundreds of master wood carvers and sculpture producers. The ancient village came into existence as early in the 7th century. It used to be an autonomous province in the Kathmandu Valley. Regardless of the rapid changes in lifestyle of the urban population and the globalized way of living, the Bungmati locals have remained untouched by modern ways and are living the life that they know best–simply rural– for the past several centuries.

Bungmati Project3To boost the energy of children and help them overcome “earthquake trauma”, art classes are being conducted by the students. Bungmati Project4From time to time art competitions are conducted. In this way the children of the community can learn something new and stay away from the fear.

Donations to support the Bungmati Project can be made here.

Mass Feeding with the Envirofit 100 Litre stoves

Envirofit2As we reported previously these stoves will be used for mass feeding for people whose homes have been destroyed and who have no means to prepare food for themselves.

Our wonderful and supportive “Stove Partner” Envirofit is aiding us in this effort. The first shipment of 20 stoves, destined for 10 locations (they are used in pairs to make Dal Bhat – enough for 300 people at a time) are on their way to Nepal – estimated delivery is May 28. Additional locations are being evaluated.

Donations to support the Mass Feeding effort can be made here.

Projects still being evaluated

We are awaiting more detailed needs assessments from our Rotary Partners for their planned work in Gamcha Village and other areas. We know that much work is needed – the scope has not yet been completely evaluated.

Donations to support the Rotary efforts at Gamcha and other areas can be made here.

The Khumbu / Mt. Everest Area suffered extensive damage from the second quake; particularly in the Sherpa villages of Khumjung, Kunde and Thame – requirements are still being evaluated, and we anticipate taking an active role in providing emergency needs and reconstruction assistance.

Donations to support the Everest Region effort can be made here.

We are awaiting a needs assessment from Upper Mustang and the Tibetan Refugee Community in Marpha, Lower Mustang.

Donations to support the Upper and Lower Mustang efforts can be made here.

Needs arise almost daily from e-mail to e-mail, and we often have to move quickly to be responsive – general donations to support these unspecified, but very real needs can be made here.

(UPDATED May 7) Support our humanitarian relief effort helping #NepalEarthquake victims

Update  – Together we are having an impact. May 7, 2015

I woke up Saturday, April 25th to this e-mail from Jai Rajbhandari; my good friend and colleague in Kathmandu

“Just had a terrible earthquake.  Going on till now sibce noon. No mre bhimsen tower. We are fine”.
(His hurried spelling on his phone – just very grateful that he let us know that they were OK).

His and his family’s life, and all of Nepal, has been turned upside down since then. For one week the global news-cycle was dominated by #NepalEarthquake, but it has now been replaced by #RoyalBaby, #Deflategate, #Tornados in Oklahoma and Elections in the UK.

But we; all of us; have not forgotten about Nepal

The search for thousands of missing people continues, with an ever-increasing body-count, and the people and the country are struggling to comprehend “what happened”, “what’s next” and “what do we do now”?

Rapid delivery of disaster aid is always a complex process, and it’s exceedingly difficult in Nepal because of geography, access and bureaucratic bungling.

Nepal Earthquake

Our first actions were to find out if all our friends and colleagues were OK – they were.

Then we began to assess what we could do, immediately and into the future, and began taking action.

#1 – Providing Immediate Emergency Relief.

Our US colleague, Dr. Fahim Rahim, had an Everest Basecamp Trek scheduled, which immediately turned into an emergency relief mission. He arrived in Nepal on April 30th and he and his team began, at once, providing medical assistance and delivering life-saving supplies of food and water.

Fahim’s efforts were far reaching and successful – He was able, somehow (he’s resourceful and persuasive) to wrangle helicopters, and his team provided the first help that many isolated villages had seen. He plans to return and continue his marvelous work

 

#2 –Areas/regions where we could work effectively.

We worked with our Himalayan Partners to identify areas (and needs) for immediate emergency relief and on-going rebuilding and restoration. – setting up “programs” – areas where our partners are active, so that we have an on-going connection (and oversight).

The locations include:

  • The Gorkha District (the epicenter of the earthquake);
  • The Sindapulchowk District (which has suffered more deaths than any other region, and where 80-90% of the homes have been destroyed or have been seriously damaged); specifically the village of Gumpa and other areas that we can reach and be effective,
  • The village of Megere in the Ramachamp District, which also suffered serious destruction, and is more remote and “off the radar”.
  • Some areas and villages in the outskirts of greater Kathmandu – the south and south-east (outlying) areas, including Dulikhel, that were being ignored while efforts were focused in the city proper.
  • Last (but by no means least) Upper Mustang (we are awaiting a needs assessment) and the Tibetan Refugee Community in Marpha (Lower Mustang) also awaiting a needs assessment.

#3 – Our priorities were and are to deliver immediate aid

We continue to deliver food, water and health care and, crucially, SHELTER because the up-coming monsoons pose a real threat on many levels.

  • We are sourcing tent supplies, from India and elsewhere.
  • We are securing the use of helicopters so that we can access the “work areas”, many of which cannot be reached on the ground because of destruction of roads and trail networks. Helicopter access is “challenging” because of the enormous demand.

P1080483 small

#4 –We are deploying large fuel-efficient wood-burning stoves

These stoves will be used for mass feeding for people whose homes have been destroyed and who have no means to prepare food for themselves.

Our wonderful and supportive “Stove Partner” Envirofit, is aiding us in this effort. So far we have identified six locations and are evaluating three more – it’s an on-going process. The stoves will leave India for Nepal next week.

InstitutionalStove2

#5 – Fund Raising continues

The outpouring of (financial) support has been very gratifying and humbling. We’ve raised over $30,000 in the last two weeks, and more is coming in AND MUCH MORE IS NEEDED so that our work can proceed, and so we can help support reconstruction when the immediate life-threatening crisis is over. Every dollar counts (and helps) – the $10 and $25 donations are as meaningful at those for $500, $1,000, $2,000 and $5,000.

Please open your hearts and wallets and continue to support these efforts; your on-going support is vital so we can continue the emergency programs and reconstruction.

Donate Now

We are honored to have been mentioned in several articles and publications as one of the “nimble, small organizations” which can navigate their way through all the chaos, and get things done.

Here’s a link to the May issue of EXPEDITION NEWS where Jeff Blumenfeld does a great job in describing the entire situation, and mentions our efforts in the mass-feeding program:

Expedition News Article

 


 

ORIGINAL POST

(May 4th, 2015)

Your help is urgently needed to support our humanitarian relief effort helping #NepalEarthquake victims.

Vivid images of the devastation caused by the massive April 25th earthquake in Nepal continue to emerge as rescue efforts slowly reach more isolated and severely affected parts of the country.

Him1The Himalayan Stove Project, in cooperation with Rotary International Clubs and individual Rotarians and a generous global donor community is making a difference in helping to ease the suffering and help people begin the process of normalizing their lives.

Your donations will provide immediate earthquake relief.

Please give generously –Every dollar makes a difference.

Donate Now

The death toll has now exceeded 7,000 and is expected to rise still higher, and the destruction of homes (and their stored food stocks) approaches 80% in some of the hardest-hit regions.

him2The dangers of the current situation have been clearly articulated by UNICEF – “Hospitals are overflowing, water is scarce, bodies are still buried under the rubble and people are still sleeping in the open … this is the perfect breeding ground for disease.”

We, through our partners, are addressing:

Providing shelter – many homes have been obliterated, and the monsoon rains will arrive by the end of May (unless they come early, which many fear) – shelter is crucial – tents and tarpaulins at a minimum, and more substantial shelters wherever possible.

Water, food and sanitation – some of this will be provided directly, but our principal impact will be through logistical support.

Our relief efforts are tightly focused (and remain flexible as new information becomes available). The key elements are:

#1 – Providing immediate relief and reconstruction help in areas where our Himalayan Partners are active, and “know the territory”.

Specifically:

  • Gumpa Village in the Sindapulchowk District,
  • Megre Village in the Ramachamp District,
  • The Gorkha District
  • Upper Mustang
  • Some of the near-in areas in the Kathmandu Valley
Megere 2small

Megere Village – October 2012

Off the Wall Trekking (Ian and Sarita Wall) is one of our key (and early) Himalayan Partners have close ties to Gumpa and Megere villages.

Sarita grew up in Megere, and it is still home to her extended family. In 2012 and again in 2013 we delivered stoves to these communities, so they are part of our “family” as well.

Sindapulchowk District (where Gumpa is located) has been particularly hard hit – there were more deaths recorded than anywhere else in Nepal — 2,560 (so far), compared to 1,622 in Kathmandu and up to 90 per cent of the homes have been destroyed.

Gorkha DistrictThe Gorkha Foundation is one of our early and active partners. The district has sustained extensive damage as well. They are establishing a logistics office in Gorkha Bazar, and we will be helping them with shelter and other needs.

Upper MustangA hauntingly beautiful region of Nepal, once an independent kingdom, it became part of Nepal 100’s of years ago.

The Himalayan Stove Project was born in this stark and beautiful landscape, and more than 900 stoves have been delivered and are changing lives there.

Our partner in this region on the Tibetan border is the former Royal Family of Mustang; the Bista family, and our principal contact is Jigme Bista; the “crown prince” who is the “custodian” of Mustang and it’s people.

The full extent of earthquake damage in Mustang is not yet known, but Jigme is hard at work to identify current conditions and what work, and help, is needed.

Communications are fragmentary. It is remote and high and communications are a challenge in the best of times.

Because of our close connections with the Bista family and numerous visits to Mustang we are in a unique position to help provide whatever assistance is needed.

Areas “near in” to KathmanduWe have worked in some of these areas, and they are “friends”. The needs (principally shelter and food) are also acute – these close-in communities are accessible to our team, and we will, in cooperation with other agencies, provide assistance principally in shelter / housing and food.

#2 – Providing immediate relief, in partnership with other organizations, to people who don’t have access to food:

Envirofit, our wonderful stove supply partner, has a remarkable, fast, efficient, low polluting Institutional Stove – the EFI 100L which has a 100 Liter pot and is ideal for cooking lentils (Dal) and rice (Bhat) making Dal Bhat; that staple, highly nutritious Nepali dish, as well as soups.

InstitutionalStove2Envirofit has 40 of these stoves in India and we are making arrangements to bring them to Nepal as quickly as possible.

Our plan is to distribute them in pairs – one for Dal and one for Baht – so that mass-feeding programs can be supported.

Our local team in Kathmandu, with the help and support of our colleague. Dr. Fahim Rahim who is in Kathmandu now, is assessing this program and establishing relationships with NGO’s providing emergency relief in Nepal to help in providing badly needed food, very efficiently, to the many displaced people.

What about our domestic / family stove program?

More than 3,000 #CleanCookStoves have already been delivered, transforming the lives of thousands of people and making a constructive impact on the environment.

The need for #CleanCookStoves still exists, and after the immediate relief efforts begin to shift to the massive reconstruction needed in Nepal our focus will return to our primary mission of “transforming the world, one #CleanCookStove at a time”.

In the meantime, please join us in helping to provide the crucial immediate relief to our friends.

Donate Now

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