Nepal Tsum Valley, Jyamrung Village
Recovery from the earthquake is a long term process. People are rebuilding their houses in more seismic resistant ways, and reconstruction will continue into the new year. Although funds have been distributed by the government for personal residential buildings, some villages lack the money to rebuild schools for their children.
Since short term relief has come to an end for Tsum Valley, any additional funds raised (above $25,454) will be focused to rebuild the school for Jyamrung village in Dhading district. The 230 children are studying in a temporary shelter made of bamboo and tarpaulin. The villagers need funds to rebuild the school in several phases - the first will rebuild 5 rooms (of 8).
Description: Phase 1 - rebuild 5 rooms
Time frame: begin construction early February
My small trekking group (1 American, 2 Spaniards, 1 Nepali guide) was caught in this village of Ripchet in Tsum Valley on April 25, 2015 when the earthquake hit. This village is one of many that are completely destroyed. It is a 3+ day trek away from the largest city, Arughat, which is an 8 hour ride away from Kathmandu. We were lucky to escape out over landslides in a period of 7 days. Some trekkers and many locals I had met were not so lucky and have been injured/died. 90% of the villages we passed by were heavily damaged, and the trails are either filled with debris or completely gone from landslides.
Attention is now only on bigger cities, and remote villages like those in Tsum are on the back burner. These villagers are in dire need of tarps, food, and water to weather through the coming 3 months of heavy rain which will bring more landslides to the region.
A team of locals and I are focusing to bring supplies first and foremost into Ripchet, the most damaged village in Tsum, and to the the rest of the villages.
Funds donated will be used for supplies to this remote village in the short term, and whatever remaining for rebuilding in the long term. We will charter helicopters for the most critical, dire materials and look to bring the heavy and low priority supplies into the Valley.
I will stay on the ground in Nepal using my old auditing and consulting skills the next few months to make sure the funds are properly used as well as to keep track of where things are going.
Financials / Organization
Detailed account of what happened at Ripchet
during earthquake, as houses were falling down (photo cred: Pol Marzougoug)
2-3 minutes after earthquake (photo cred: Pol Marzougoug)
Arughat, nearest city (3-4 day trek from Ripchet), (photo cred: Andrew Maiorana)
Trail demolished by landslide (Photo cred: Pol Marzougoug)
(photo cred: Pol Marzougoug)
As it comes to an end, I wanted to provide an update and show what amazing things the funds we raised have directly contributed to.
In the months post-monsoon and pre-winter:
1. The people of Jyamrung village now has 6 new latrines to replace what they had lost in the earthquake. As a result, they can again contain human waste in a more sanitary way and therefore diminish the spread of disease, which became widespread following the earthquake. See pictures, below.
2. The Tsum Valley Youth Club returned to Tsum Valley and built a model home (in a seismic resistant design) for others to learn from and copy. See the update on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rebuildTsum/?fref=ts
Friends tell me the major need now for many villages, aside from rebuilding their residential homes, is to rebuild schools. The government has not provided enough funds to do so. Please send some positive thoughts their way, and if you would like to help, I will be sending any additional donations to Ganesh Gurung to help his Jyamrung village rebuild their school for 230 students.
Thank you for being so amazing. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year with family, friends, and loved ones.
Since the last update, we've met our fundraising goal (OMG you guys are so freaking amazing!). Roofing as well as some other construction material were supplied to the villages in Tsum Valley.
The bad news is that the monsoon as further destroyed the already damaged trails. The villages and monasteries are trying to reconstruct those manually as quickly as they can. The good news is that the organizations - People in Need, Abari, Tsum Society Youth Club, etc - are working closely to organize and making sure their efforts are not redundant.
I have donated the rest of the fund to two people / organizations I trust entirely.
1 - Ganesh Gurung.
His village of Patle in Dhading District has completely been overlooked. When we met up in June, disease was quickly spreading because latrines were destroyed, and villagers had to hike 3km to the nearest drinking water source. $2,000 will build the village 6 latrines.
2 - Tsum Society Youth Club.
I was working with this organization back in Nepal, which is headed by a very passionate and capable man named Rinzin. We are in contact to see what is being done for long term rebuilding of Tsum Valley and how else, if any, we can help from abroad.
Both will be updating either on Facebook or through me. Check their facebook page out here:
To see where your donations have gone:
Rebuilding has just started and will take years. Please keep Nepal in your thoughts as the country and its people get back on their feet.
Lastly, thank you all so much for being the big hearted, generous people you are. I know it's easy to say "aww how sad" when disasters like this happen far away from home and to forget when the media moves on to other stories. But you took action.
Thank you for reminding me how positive things can be even when it seemed like the world was coming to an end. To have the support and trust of family, friends, friends-of-friends and complete strangers for a project that is so seemingly impossible is a blessing. You have no idea how much it meant to me, the hope it gave, and the therapy it provided me in a confusingly dark time. So, thank you. You mean the world to me.
Rinzin and I met with a large nonprofit called People In Need, who are focusing on hard-to-reach places affected by the earthquake. They are supplying villages with food and adequate shelter before the oncoming monsoon (they have access to helicopters)!! Tsum Valley is in their rotation and focus.
What this means:
Since People In Need is taking care of everything in the short term, the remaining funds will be used for long term rebuilding and transferred to either Tsum Society Youth Club (a local NGO headed by Rinzin) or Village Structures (the group of US environmental design/construction experts).
I can't thank you all enough for the outpouring of support. In times like these you truly get to see the kindness of people, and I know the Nepali are extremely grateful to be at the receiving end of that love, however unfortunate the circumstance.
Signing out for awhile. Please keep Nepal in your thoughts.
Big big hugs,
Through an incredible new friend of a new friend, I had an audience with a group of high ranking officials from the Indian and Nepali army in charge of logistics of army helicopters.
They were so attentive and interested in what we are trying to do (must be my charms, haha), but the army takes orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) as to what and to whom to send supplies. As luck would have it, a Secretary from MOHA was at the army aviation base, so they introduced me to this man.
Focus is understandably on the Sindhupulchowk district, which was the hardest hit, so, he said he will talk to the people in decision making positions.
And now we wait. And pray.
Please please please, send some positive thoughts over this way.
As always, thank you.