Print Edition - 2015-05-27 | Earthquake Relief
Kids do their bit
- A group of school children get together to raise money for earthquake victims and desposit the amount in the PM’s relief fund
May 26, 2015-
Seven days after the second quake, of May 12, eight children in Pancheshwor Tole in the Tinkune walked the streets of Shantinagar and Koteshwor to collect funds for earthquake victims. They asked anyone they came across to donate whatever they could. On May 26, the children submitted the collected amount of Rs 5,005 to the Kantipur Relief Fund. The children requested donations from over a hundred people and they documented their efforts by writing down the names of the donors, got their signatures, and the amount they received in a copybook. The donated amounts ranged from Rs 10 to 500. The kids are all between 6 to 14 years of age, and they attend various schools. Five of them—Pujan Dhakal (Class 9), Avi Raman KC (Class 6), Abhinav Gautam (Class 4), Aaraju KC (Class 2) and Puja Dhakal (Class 6)—are students of VS Niketan School in Shantinagar; Ravi Raman KC (Class 8) is a student at SOS Children’s Village; and Birat Gautam (Class 7) is a student at Clinton School, Chabahil. The Post’s Anup Ojha talked to Ravi Raman KC, Pujan Dhakal and Birat Gautam about their motivation for collecting money for quake victims and how they collected donations from over a hundred people.
How did you come up with this idea of collecting money for quake victims? Who was your inspiration?
Ravi: On the evening of May 19, before I went to bed, my father talked to me about how quake victims around the country were going through such hard times. And he told me to work on raising funds on their behalf. The next day, I shared this idea with my friends and we got down to work.
Pujan: My family and I were still sleeping at White House College in Tinkune when Ravi, my friend, broached the idea. He had come over in the morning to play in the college grounds, and we talked about collecting money for quake victims. I felt this was a great opportunity to help the quake victims and that’s how we got started.
Birat: Every day, I would read about how the number of casualties caused by the devastating quake was increasing; and that used to sadden me. I had a desire to help people, but I didn’t know how. When Ravi brought up his idea, we shared the idea with five other friends from our locality and we decided to work together.
You have collected money from more than a hundred people. Can you describe your experiences? How did the people respond?
Ravi: We basically talked to people we met on the streets. Some people were very cooperative, and they even encouraged us to keep at it. Some were, however, sceptical about what we were doing. A few of them even scolded us and tried to chase us away, but we didn’t run away because we were working for others. We knew our intention was good.
Pujan: We faced mixed responses. One lady who owns a doughnut shop in Tinkune alleged that we were collecting pocket money for ourselves and scolded us. That really made us feel bad.
Birat: Some of the people
we approached told us that they themselves were earthquake victims, and they asked us to hand over 50 percent of the amount we had collected. And quite a few of them asked us to help them out financially, saying that their houses had been destroyed by the quake.
Why did you choose to collect money, instead of, say, volunteering with relief programmes?
Ravi: We are still kids, and we can’t go on relief missions to help quake victims. But we wanted to help people like us who have nothing left now. We consulted our parents, and they told us that collecting money for relief funds would probably be the best way to help others.
Pujan: We all think that the money we have collected will go directly to the real victims. We have not collected a huge amount of money, but we are proud of what we have accomplished. When we were working on this collection drive, we ourselves were living in tents. Now, we are back to living inside our houses, and we want to see other people have their own houses. We hope this money will be of some help for the quake-affected people.
Birat: Some of our parents had told us to give this money to the homes for the elderly, but there are people to look after them; and we have been hearing that hundreds of quake victims are still living out in the open. We also know that children like us are still suffering. We hope this money will reach the most affected families.
Where were you when the earthquake hit and how did you react?
Ravi: I was in Pokhara with my family members. I remember how everything kept rattling all around us. After a few days we returned to Kathmandu.
Pujan: I had just attended a party in a restaurant in Sinamangal and was on my way home. We were on the road, when people suddenly started to shout and cry; and then I realised that we had been hit by an earthquake. My parents took me to the safe place in Lokanthali, and we ended up spending a few nights there.
Birat: I was with my uncle Laxman Gautam who had recently arrived from Singapore. We were having lunch in a restaurant. All of sudden people started to run and scream. We were a group of around 14 people, mostly children. The building shook really hard, and we all clung to our uncle. He led us away to a safe place.
What is your message to other children who want to help out like you?
Ravi: We are not victims anymore; we are quake survivors. Let us help the people in the affected areas in any way we can.
Pujan: Friends, there are many students like us whose schools have been badly damaged. Some kids have lost their parents. So please give some of your time and donate at a least a little bit of your pocket money to relief funds. This will make a big difference.
Birat: I hope that once you read this interview, you will also do something for the quake victims. Everyone’s support can make a difference in rehabilitating quake victims and rebuilding our nation. Let’s work together to help the affected people.
Published: 27-05-2015 07:37