GWLN GRADUATES AND PARTNERS IN NEPAL
On April 25, 2015, the largest earthquake in over 80 years hit Nepal and has killed more than 7,000 people in a week.More than twice as many were injured and many are still missing. Hundreds of thousands of people were rendered homeless with entire villages flattened across many districts throughout the country.
Through our global community, GWLN immediately reached out to our connections in Nepal which include two alumni who work in the country and several graduates who serve the Nepalese people from afar. Three of the confirmed participants for the Women Leaders for the World program in 2015 are from Nepal. We were overjoyed to learn that the women leaders were devastated but they were safe.
Today, GWLN’s graduates and their organizations are mobilizing to help millions of people who are injured and homeless. Some are on the ground in Nepal delivering food, water and relief packages while others will arrive soon to see how they can help the country rebuild. Read about our graduates, their organizations and their efforts to assist the people of Nepal, especially women and children who are particularly effected during disaster recovery.
Susan Risal, GWLN 2012 Graduate, Nagarik Aawaz
Susan is the CEO of Nagarik Aawaz (NA), a peace-building organization near Kathmandu, that transforms conflict-affected women and youth who are victims of violence into leaders of peace. They provide a “safe space” for conflict victims to heal their traumas from more than 10 years of past armed conflict. NA also offers a weekly Shanti Bhancha or Peace Kitchen to feed the homeless, elderly and street children.
NA is currently focusing its relief efforts in remote places where very little assistance has arrived. In one small village, 34 houses were destroyed and the relief team provided them with food, soap, medicines and a water purifier. NA has been assessing areas where thousands of homes are no longer liveable. In addition to providing food and supplies, the teams are taking extra care to provide counselling to the most vulnerable groups such as post-natal women, children, the elderly, low-wage earners and those with low social status.
Freema Davis, GWLN 2012 Graduate, Global Family Village
Freema is the Founder and Executive Director of Global Family Village (GFV) and has been working on behalf of Nepal’s disenfranchised women and children for over two decades. Her goal is to see GFV grow to independence and continue assisting institutions that house children to become community-integrated “homes” with well-adjusted families that support and care for one another.
Freema will be heading to Nepal in May to join GFV’s board members who are already on the ground providing relief support. They are partnering with the Chhatrapati Free Clinic to treat the most needy and injured victims in the hospital. Freema will be bringing aid and supplies to semi-remote villages that are still waiting for assistance. She wants to help rebuild schools so children can go back to class.
Lucky Chhetri, GWLN 2007 Graduate, Three Sisters Adventure Trekking
Lucky and her sisters founded Three Sisters Adventure Trekking as a tourism business for mountain climbing near Pokhara. Eventually, the organization launched “Empowering Women of Nepal”, a sister company to improve women’s lives in the villages through economic empowerment. Nearly 2,000 women have completed training so they can succeed as guides and other careers in the traditionally male-dominated industry of adventure tourism.
In Pokhara, daily life is picking up. While shops and banks are open, many schools and offices are still closed. There is no shortage of food or water. Earthquake tremors are still being felt from time to time. Hospitals are very busy and running out of medical supplies. There are many local initiatives to help those in need but there is so much to be done. More and more people realize how much effort it will take to rebuild the country.
Police, army, pilots, foreign experts, doctors, nurses and volunteers (local/international) are working extremely hard to help as many people as possible. We pray and hope that no outbreak of diseases will occur. On April 29, a staff member and two Polish trekkers were rescued by the Nepalese army. Many people are still stranded in remote areas waiting desperately to receive medical assistance and to be rescued. Helicopters are needed.