Nepal was still reeling from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake shocked the nation on April 25, when the second major earthquake hit on May 12.
The death toll from the first quake exceeded 8,000, with hundreds of thousands more displaced. In addition, several priceless historic structures have been destroyed.
Yet, even as these ancient symbols of Nepal’s deeply rooted spiritual traditions have crumbled, living monuments, the human spirit and faith of the Nepali people, continue to withstand the earthquakes.
In her first-hand account of the earthquake published in the New York Times, Donatella Lorch describes the generosity and resilience of the Nepalese that sustained her through her initial shock. “People here help one another…They reach out to one another and they persevere.”
With a tight timeline before monsoon season, Nepal has been hard pressed for resources and funds, even with pledged international relief aid. Government and international agencies have begun to look to local grassroots leaders to close the gap.
Beyond borders, religious and ethnic differences, across organizations, within and from the diaspora, Nepali have come together to rebuild and move their nation forward. Their compassion and love for one another is sustained by their multi-faceted spiritual traditions and is forging solutions where little seems to be possible.
“…regardless of how much we had to struggle even up to the point where I had to sacrifice my sleep, witnessing a shred of happiness in the people we helped, made it one of the best experiences of my life.” – Suman Dhakai, RiseNepal Volunteer
The #RiseNepal Campaign, rallying brave young volunteers throughout Kathmandu with the support of the Global Peace Foundation Nepal and other members of the Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance (APPDSA) is one example. Teams have reached far and wide with relief supplies and essential services.
What is most moving is their determination. Volunteers have confronted challenges, driven by their desire to bring relief and comfort to their suffering brethren.
Suman Dhakai, was a part of an 8 person team that traveled to Sindhupalchowk to deliver relief goods to 200 homes in the remote hills of Kathmandu valley. They had to change flat tires, dig out fallen trees, and climb the final leg of their trip to reach the homes. He said, “Whatever problem could occur, it did.” However, “regardless of how much we had to struggle even up to the point where I had to sacrifice my sleep, witnessing a shred of happiness in the people we helped, made it one of the best experiences of my life.”
With this resolve, #RiseNepal volunteers are reaching out to feed displaced families in Kathmandu, put up shelters, build semi-permanent structures for harder hit areas, provide urgent care, clear rubble, and take care of basic sanitation in the numerous tent settlements that is for now, home for families too scared to return home.
What is most inspiring is the volunteers’ heart of service.
The sense of loss is great and the road to recovery is long. But the spirit of the Nepalese people, as the #RiseNepal volunteers have animated, has not been extinguished, and is lighting the nation’s way forward.
We send our prayers and support to Nepal in this trying time. #RiseNepal