Rebuilding Nepal's Villages
Many excellent aid efforts are underway at the national level, and on the ground in Nepal is Mountain Madness guide and Changing Lives Nepal co-founder Deana Zabaldo.
Deana says: "In the villages where our Sherpa and Rai staff come from, and throughout the region, homes are completely destroyed or so damaged that it would be dangerous to stay inside. Their families are displaced and have no shelter. We want to help them rebuild. The cost to rebuild and repair homes is roughly $5000-$10000 each. We will help as many people as we can."
Deana was in Namche Bazaar in the Everest region when the quake struck, having just left Kathmandu a few days earlier to guide an Everest Base Camp trek for 20 Americans and Canadians. Deana, the trekking group, and 26 Nepali staff are still in remote Nepal. In addition to being an award-winning trekking guide for Mountain Madness, Deana has worked in Nepal for 17 years, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and now as a guide and as co-founder of a nonprofit supporting local leaders and sustainable community development. She is deeply connected to the local communities and is in a unique position to hand the donations directly to the people who most need them to rebuild their homes.
NOTE: While Changing Lives Nepal is a donor fund and will continue its work with communities, this fundraising account is being established, which is NOT tax-deductible, in order to directly assist village families. We want the funds to flow as quickly and directly as possible to the hands of those who need them, so this fund is set up to pass the funds directly to them through Deana. We continue to be all-volunteer in the U.S. and we do not take any part of your donations for salaries or administration. If you prefer to make a tax-deductible donation to long-term community efforts please go to www.changinglivesnepal.org/donate.
Thank you all for you concern and support for the people of Nepal.
(Namche Bazaar a few days before the quake:)
Annie Bacon and Shannon Jenkins have set up and are monitoring/updating this account for Deana. We are not only friends of Deana's, but donors to Changing Lives Nepal because of their incredible integrity in supporting local leaders to do the work that is locally defined as needed. If you have questions we'll be answering many of them as Deana's access to Internet is spotty at the moment. We will be adding photos and updates as they become available.
Your generous funds have been distributed in Nepal!
Deana was on the ground for a few weeks and has written a detailed account of both the current state of things in country and a complete accounting of how the money was distributed to the families of Mountain Madness staff. The update includes photos, and more thanks to you all, and links to what comes next for rebuilding in Nepal. It is linked below.
Wishing you a bright, safe and healthy 2016. You've helped the season brighten for families in a distant country who are heartened and warmed by your generosity.
P.S. Go Fund Me's updating interface doesn't allow us to include multiple photos and hyperlinks, so the update is posted as a document here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByfNLT_lIy_SLUU4cFhpV0ZsLTg/view?usp=sharing
**You do NOT need a Gmail account to access this file. You can click on or copy/paste it into your browser and it will take you right to it. Let us know if you have any problems accessing it!
Fundraising for village rebuilding ends tomorrow, Oct 16th, so that we have time to collect all the funds and transfer to Nepal in time to disburse them when the Mountain Madness staff are gathered. If you would like to make a final donation, now is the time!
Any further donations to this account after Oct 16th will go to Changing Lives Nepal general reconstruction activities. I am headed to Nepal in 3 weeks to meet with our project partners and plan for the future. Stay tuned for updates and photos on the distribution of funds as well as future plans….
Thank you all for support!
In Nepal the monsoon is ending, a national Constitution (9 years in the making!) is about to be presented in Parliament, and aftershocks are finally subsiding (yes, magnitude 4 and higher shocks have been ongoing the entire summer). Thank you all for your patience in awaiting an update about your donations. It has taken time to recover and to begin planning for the future, both for me personally and for the thousands of families impacted by the April/May earthquakes. As we stated initially, your donations are for village reconstruction and Mountain Madness staff. Although some reconstruction has begun in Nepal, nearly all of our staff have waited for the earth to dry out, for building materials to dry, and for their agricultural work to be over. We are now looking towards the future one and all….
GRATITUDE: I have deep gratitude for our Mountain Madness staff. In a time of fear, uncertainty, loss, and pain, our staff stayed with our trekking group to ensure our safe exit from the mountains of the Himalaya. Can you imagine remaining at work in another state if your family were suddenly in the middle of a disaster, hours and hours away, with not even a roof over their heads? Although we let our staff know that anyone who needed to leave to take care of their family could leave and still be fully paid for the trip (and two of them did leave out of necessity), the staff remained with us until we flew back to Kathmandu. I am so moved by the dedication and concern of our staff, and I am nothing but honored to be able to provide them the money you have given for their homes and their future. So many people in Nepal need help now (and in the months and years to come), but we had to decide how to direct our immediate efforts. Giving back to the people who stayed by our side through this disaster feels like the right focus for the funds that were largely raised by Mountain Madness trekkers and former trekkers, Mountain Madness office staff, and their extended circles of families and friends. I am immensely grateful for the outpouring of support, both emotional and financial, from all of you. I can't thank you enough for your donations.
REBUILDING PLANS: Our staff live in villages spread through the mountains below the Everest region. To put the extreme geography in perspective, it would take about 3 weeks to walk to all their different villages. Their villages also lie at significantly different altitudes--some where stone construction is prominent and homes need to protect from the cold, others where mud/stone/thatch are prevalent and homes need to ventilate for the heat. Because the weather conditions and building materials vary greatly, and because we want your funds to go directly to the people who need it most (and not to operational costs), we will not manage their rebuilding directly. We will provide the money and facilitate a discussion to share what people might be doing differently as they rebuild, and then each family will make their own decisions about how and when to rebuild their homes. At the same time, we are looking for better construction technology and to begin helping in other areas….more on that below.
DISTRIBUTION OF MONEY: We have already transferred significant funds to Nepal should any of our staff need an advance to begin building. (All of our staff also received immediate relief supplies and temporary shelters back in May.) Currently, people are just beginning to collect building materials (stone, wood, etc.), and they are also tied up with crops and the upcoming harvest. (Although Dawa has begun constructing a new home, people in the lower villages have not begun any construction yet.) In November, when our staff are finished with trekking and/or harvest work, they will have time, and we will all come together and the money will be distributed. As leader of the trekking team, Dawa Sherpa has volunteered his time to continue to stay in touch with staff, to collect funds in Nepal, and to guide fair distribution. He is helping to set the policy for disbursement--and it is in part at his request that we have waited until I am in Nepal to do the full accounting and distribution.
To ensure financial transparency, I will be meeting personally with the team to explain how much money was raised, what the financial & bank fees were, what the exchange rate was, and what the total amount being disbursed is. Programs in Nepal don't always clarify this type of information, and it's very important to me that our staff have a chance to ask any questions directly so that the fund is fully transparent. I can't tell you what the totals are yet, because we are still fundraising through Oct 15! These are the final weeks to gather funds before we close the campaign. After we distribute funds in November, we will be sure to post a complete statement showing who received the money and what the totals were as well as photos and info from our staff gathering. ZERO dollars from this fund will go to airfare, salaries, program management, etc. The only money that will not go directly to the recipients are the financial fees deducted by Go Fund Me, WePay, and wire transfers.
A BETTER FUTURE: As a small organization, Changing Lives Nepal (CLN) has always maximized impact by supporting sustainable innovation and by investing in new ideas to get them launched and running so they can garner other financial support. Our aim is not to manage the reconstruction of hundreds of schools across the country--larger organizations and bilateral donors are hopefully moving forward on these types of initiatives, and I am grateful for their work. Our staff have a pressing need to rebuild as soon as possible, and I honor that. I am also aware that Nepal needs better construction methods for the future--construction that is affordable, appealing, and seismically safe.
Along with CLN Co-Founder Nancy Porten, we have viewed our role in Nepal as a catalyst for innovation, and a support for local individuals who are dedicated to helping their communities. We hope to continue that work in part by bringing new appropriate construction technology to Nepal. Some of our aims include
*Investing in a better future by experimenting with improved construction methods for Nepal, particularly methods of natural building (in conjunction with experts who have worked in post-earthquake Haiti and Pakistan and who have a demonstrated track record of success in natural building, both in the US and abroad).
*Helping to fund reconstruction of a school in one of the most heavily affected earthquake regions.
*Continue facilitating economic growth in rural areas, such as cash-crop organic coffee, tea, and almonds.
You can learn more about our plans here: http://www.changinglivesnepal.org/
I think every day of the people I know who are displaced from their homes, who have spent the summer in tents in the rain, who have been unable to plant their fields, who have lost family members and all their resources in the past few months. I have not forgotten their suffering and I hope that all our efforts will help them to begin rebuilding their homes and their lives.
A huge influx today! Our deep thanks to you all for continuing to support this cause.
You should have each received a personal update about the plans as they are shaping up at the moment. While we wait for things to start moving again, forgive us if we are quiet on this campaign. The full impact of the earthquake has settled in and there is some emotional and spiritual healing necessary.
Our donation is made in honor of Jay Pernell Molock, a generous community servant who recently earned his Masters in Leadership in Higher Education Administration. Deana, thank you for the work you're doing and this opportunity to directly support the rebuilding and recovery effort in Nepal.
We plan to do a benefit for your organization June 6th. We'll ask concert-goers to donate checks or cash as they leave the concert. The setting doesn't lend itself to online donations. Who should they writes checks to? Where should we send a pile of checks? Can you accept cash (CA)?
Hi - i have a friend with a young family in Kathmandu who needs money to put a roof on his home that he is rebuilding since the earthquake. Is he able to get help from you? Thanks
Thank you for all you are doing to help the people of Nepal. I have friend in Nepal living in Nuwakot Bagmati region. His village is in dire need of help. I have been helping him personally but dont have sufficient funds to help his village.And I have been trying to think of ways to help them.Is there any way that you can help this village.
That's nice to hear how they are getting help from gofundme, but unfortunately for us, we cant even raise enough money for my nephews headstone... good job gofundme.....