For many Americans the devsatating earthquake that shook Nepal on April 25 seems a world away. But it has hit close to home for three Hamilton students who are natives of the country and have families there. The three – Priti Kharel ’18, Ujjwal Pradhan ’15 and Sharif Shrestha ’17 – are raising funds for relief and working with the International Students Association (ISA) and other student organizations to raise awareness of the tragedy that has left more than 5000 dead.
The International Students Association is sponsoring a Vigil for Nepal walk on Wednesday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m. It will start at KJ Circle, continue down Martin's Way, and end at the Chapel, where Hamilton's Nepali students will speak briefly about the current situation in Nepal and share personal stories.
Shrestha summed up the feelings of his fellow Nepali students. “It’s terrifying to not be with the family and my countrymen in the time of need. Five thousand people have died, 8000 injured and around 500,000 displaced,” he remarked. “While my loved ones are safe and sound, I had not felt so helpless in my life.”
He has started a fundraiser in collaboration with other U.S Nepali students acting as liaisons on their respective campuses. This campaign is going to help local and small NGOs such as FWEAN (Federation of Woman Entrepreneur Association of Nepal). “We chose to help local NGOs because they can penetrate through small communities for relief works more quickly and efficiently than the big INGOS,” Shrestha explained.
Pradhan said his family escaped the earthquake safely but “is currently camped in a makeshift tent on our backyard garden.” Pradhan took immediate action when he learned of the earthquake. “On Saturday evening, a friend, my brother (who is a government doctor) and I, in collaboration with a local school, planned to provide immediate relief and started raising funds on Life IndieGogo,” he said. You can find details of their campaign under “The Story.” Relief funds raised through their campaign are directly providing medical care, as well as food, water and sanitary supplies to survivors of the earthquake in Nepal.
Pradhan explained, “In my hometown of Balaju, Kathmandu, a local school, Crème Learning Ambiance School, is housing over 100 displaced people and providing them with food, shelter and medical support.” Their fundraiser campaign directly supports the school and two local doctors, including his brother, who are administering medical care to victims from the neighborhoods of Balaju.” This has a more local approach and will be effective in reaching out to people in his community.
Kharel’s family is also safe. “As I heard about the news that my city was under rubble, the first thing that came to my mind was calling my family to know if they were out of danger. It was a hard time reaching out to them, but thankfully, they were unharmed,” she said. “Above all, it hurts to know that my country is crying for help and I am able to do nothing.”
Shrestha in collaboration with the others immediately started mobilizing Hamilton clubs to raise funds. “We have received tremendous support from the community and I believe this will be a great aid to support relief work with our target NGO,” said Shrestha. “A dollar is equivalent to a 101 Nepalese Rupees, which could buy a day’s worth of food for a family. So every dollar counts,” he remarked.
On Saturday, May 2, at 6 p.m., Hamilton’s Philanthropy committee will host a Silent Auction whose proceeds are going directly to Nepal campus fundraisers. Pre-health society will be hosting a bake sale in designated places such as Diner and Opus 1. More information about these fundraisers will follow.