Ditching Prom for Nepal
As I’m writing this, 8000 have been killed and 20,000 have been injured in the Nepal 7.8 magnitude earthquake. 900,000 children are in fragile makeshift tents and have no access to standardised education (but the selfless volunteers there are playing and teaching with the kids). In the mountainous regions of Nepal, 90% of homes are damaged-and rural regions of developing countries take longest to recover.
I decided to start a fundraiser for the survivors, “Ditching Prom For Nepal” because I want to culminate my year via philanthropy; many of my cocurricular activities in high school have involved that and I feel it’s a natural continuation of it.
The money I had saved up for my Prom (dress, tickets, limo, etc.) will be going towards this fundraiser, so the $500 goal is the additional funds that I am aiming for.
These funds will go towards the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The goal is $500 because this goal affords shelter for a family to find solace.
I’m particularly worried about young girls and women affected by the Nepal earthquake because human trafficking rates will inevitably increase in accordance with a natural disaster. Urgent humanitarian aid is needed to combat cross-border trafficking and exploitation.
In my last two years of high school I became really involved in a Young Women’s Council, so I feel that any humanitarian crisis affecting my sisters overseas affects me.
Humanitarian aid is thus essential to combat gender inequality.
I just want to end with a reality check. I spent $200 this week on going out with my friends, conference tickets, and random ‘essentials’. I spent $10 on donating to Nepal because I didn’t have any money left on my card.
I know that we can all do more than this. I know I can.
I hope that I’ve convinced you to give a few dollars or whatever you can offer to help a family in Nepal find solace through the UNHCR.
If you have any questions you can message me on Facebook! I’ll try to answer them.
Ashley Yu is an International Baccalaureate Student at Ancaster High School. She is the President of the Free the Children: We Act Club that supports poverty alleviation and education in developing countries. Ashley is a Member of the Young Women’s Advisory Council at YWCA Hamilton, Co-Chair (2013-14) and Member of the Youth Advisory Council of the Hamilton Community Foundation, and Member of the Plan Canada Youth Advisory Council.
I'm sending in the cheque of $1690.46 to UNHCR Canada this week. The crowdfunding site says another number but Bryan Prince donated an additional amount shortly after my graduation.
This fundraiser had a rather short duration. There is still so much more to be done. Don't take this as the end. Take this as a signal to be more aware of what is going on with regards to Nepali relief efforts because mass media conglomerates focus on 'news'y items...and Nepali relief process isn't one of them now. That's why as social media users we should be in touch with organizations that are cognizant of remaining issues that we need to focus on.
Please follow UNHCR Canada, Canadian Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Stories of Nepal, and local members of your community with connections to the Nepalese. Suggest more to me via Twitter, Facebook, anywhere that is more convenient for you.
Take care and stay strong! I wish you all the best and Thank You so much for sharing and supporting this crowdfunding campaign. I can't believe we made it. And we helped three families instead of the initial goal of one tent for one family.
Today this fundraiser ends, but the humanitarian aid that the Nepali survivors need is still abundant. Bryan Prince introduced me to the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Fund via his 'Sweet Hearts, Helping Hands' fundraising event he held with his brother Ross. Here is the link to the Fundraising page where you can contribute your hospitality: https://secure.redcross.ca/registrant/donate.aspx?eventid=172921 and you can email them if you have any questions at WeCare@redcross.ca.
I encourage you all to check out the Instagram or Facebook page, 'Stories of Nepal', which covers the accounts of Nepali culture and the survivors' stories. What we don't hear on the news is shown in grassroots sites like these that help us in the West empathize for our sisters and brothers overseas. Here is the Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/StoriesNepal?fref=ts and their Fundraising link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stories-of-nepal-earthquake-recovery-fund#/story.
I'd like to thank each person who shared or donated to this fundraiser which collected $1629.00. This amount helps three families find shelter and solace, as $500.00 towards the UNHCR helps one family, and that was my intitial goal. It's not much but as I said earlier in the Hamilton Spectator, I really wanted to end the year with something bigger than myself, and each person who supported in any way did so.
Deep, deep thanks. I wish you all happy prosperous lives, ones filled with compassion and courage.
A donor has his own Nepal relief fundraising event and I really want to share it with you. Our email exchanges have given me so much hope in helping the Nepalese people.
This donor was actually in Kathmandu during the earthquake...I hope you attend his event because I know I will. If you have your own fundraiser please let me know and I'd be happy to share it with my audience.
Here are snippets of our email exchanges:
Donor: I was actually in Kathmandu with my brother when the earthquake struck. We weren't injured and have since made our way home but not before witnessing some of the pain and suffering that the people of Nepal and the surrounding regions are now coming to terms with. It is truly heartbreaking.
Me: Have you stayed in contact with any of the Nepali people or aid workers?
Donor: I have indeed stayed in contact with friends we made along the trails in Nepal. I hiked the Annapurna Circuit and my guide for the trek, Bharat, has become a close friend. He and his family are from the Everest region which was devastated by rock slides. Virtually all his village was destroyed and everyone is now living in tents. We have been sending money directly to him for the purchase of tents, food and medical supplies. For the fundraiser, we will donate proceeds to The Red Cross/Nepal Region Earthquake Fund, feeling that we can't expect people we don't know directly to support our individual friends. It's a delicate balance. Bharat has told us that they haven't seen any aid in their region from international NGO's. It's so heartbreaking but at the same time, we mustn't let our spirits flag. There's so much to be done.
Thanks for your support of this UNHCR Nepal humanitarian aid fundraiser.
Although we have surpassed the initial $500 goal in five days and $1000 in seven days, the UN still requires massive amounts of aid ($423 million as of Monday May 25th; only 22% has been fulfilled).
I will close this fundraiser on June 25th, the day of our graduation. Please continue supporting this fundraiser and sharing it with your colleagues, friends, and family.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh of the WHO remarked, “As media attention fades away, this is the time for WHO and partners to stand with Nepal and help the country build back a more resilient health system." The United Nations lists shelter as the most basic need, and it's essential against possible outbreak of disease.
From now until the end of this fundraiser I am organizing a fundraising event that doubles as my 18th birthday 'party'. Proceeds will go towards 'Ditching Prom for Nepal' (UNHCR).
Please don't stop helping. It's not about my 'goals'; it's a matter of human life and combating sex trafficking-the sooner Nepal finds relief and puts their young generation in permanent schools, the less likely young girls and women will be trafficked to brothels abroad.
(Also big thanks to Hamilton News, CHCH News, The Hamilton Spectator, and the Bill Kelly Show AM900 CHML for your support. Many of our supporters found us through these media organisations.)
(Great photojournalism is key to helping the developed world become more empathetic to third world countries. This photo is from the Nepal Photo Project https://www.facebook.com/nepalphotoproject)
(Cont'd from last comment) Every dollar for every UN fundraiser counts.
Thanks Katia, Jason, Ms. B, Shirley, Lily, Monica, and Alex for your support on the first day of 'Ditching Prom For Nepal'. ❤ I'm updating humanitarian aid info on Twitter @Ashley__Yu. Please continue sharing with your friends! The UN has just released a statment calling for $423m in aid for the two million survivors.