UPDATE: May 16, 2015: We are getting more reports from our fellows and their communities, and the message we are receiving is mixed. The good news is that none of our fellows or their immediate families and friends have reported any fatalities as a result of the earthquake. The bad news is that most houses in their villages are completely devastated. Three of our fellows have lost their homes, and in one village where we work, only 2 out of 112 houses remain. The extent of the challenge that lies ahead of us is immense, but we promise to work not just with our fellows but also their communities to help them rebuild their homes and their lives in the coming days.
As you must know already, a massive earthquake has rocked Nepal. Samaanta Foundation’s core work is on higher education, but at times of crisis we do not have the luxury to choose our issues. We have extensive experience of working with rural populations, and have a strong network of local organizations who are ideally placed to reach those populations that are not reached immediately by conventional relief efforts. There are many foreign agencies and governments in Nepal right now, but we have intentionally chosen to work with local organisations that have better reach and can address the needs of those not on the radar of these larger groups.
Our emphasis to work with local organisations is often misunderstood to mean “small” organisations. We recognise that disaster relief is extremely complex and difficult, so we work carefully with those organisations that have the skills, knowledge, networks, and capacity to carry out this work effectively. All three organisations we work with have a proven track record locally and nationally, and have experience working in coordination with local and central level government actors. A brief summary of each organisation and their key focus are presented below.
1) Sano Paila is a registered not for profit with a stellar track record over the last eight years in Nepal. They are based in Birgunj, a border town that has not been hit too hard by the earthquake. I have worked closely with the organisation since its inception and can personally vouch for their integrity.
2) Association of Youth Organisations Nepal was founded in 2005 and they have extremely reliable networks across all the districts affected by the earthquake. They are one of the most active and dedicated groups working on relief efforts, and were one of the first organisations to send teams to Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, and Dhading, and they are continuing to expand their operations. They have already reached over 40 villages in six days, most of the time as first responders, covering the ten hardest hit districts. Their ability to draw on a reserve of over 6000 young volunteers provides them a unique opportunity to address to the most needy very quickly and efficiently.
3) Bibeksheel Nepali are a dynamic young organisation in Kathmandu who are acting as first responders and primary care providers in the city. Although I am trying to coordinate efforts outside KTM at the moment, they are doing such important work with vulnerable people in the capital not receiving help from anyone else that we am supporting their efforts as well.
4) Clean up Nepal works to provide an enabling environment to improve solid waste management in Nepal by working closely with local communities and relevant stakeholders. They are leveraging their experience in working with these local partners and stakeholders to coordinate their relief response. They are now focusing their efforts on reaching the most rural areas of Sindhupalchowk, where no help has arrived yet.
5) Teach For Nepal are very well placed to facilitate relief work because they have strong local networks in rural Lalitpur and Sindhupalchowk, where their fellows have been serving for the last two years. Their upper management team have expertise in carrying out relief work in post-tsunami Sri Lanka, and their existing networks will ensure community-centric relief and rehabilitation efforts.
All donations to Samaanta Foundation will be used only for relief efforts with no overhead charges at all to ensure that all your contributions go directly to those in need. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions, concerns, or suggestions.
Samaanta Foundation (US) is a verified 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization based in the United States. As such, all your contributions to us are tax-deductible in the US.¬†Please support us in helping those in need by making a contribution to our relief efforts.
All donations to Samaanta Foundation are being used for earthquake relief until further notice.
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