Print Edition - 2015-06-05  |  Earthquake Relief

Shikshya thinks long-term

- Chahana Sigdel, Kathmandu

Jun 4, 2015-

Among the many organisations raising funds in Nepal, Shikshya Foundation stands out. With renowned fashion designer Prabal Gurung as its brand ambassador, the organisation was one of the first celebrities to start raising money in the aftermath of the Great Quake.

Till date, the team has raised $587,466 according to the crowd-funding site Crowdrise; the amount has been used in various projects across the affected districts, according to members of the organisations.

The team here consists of executive members Rati Shah, Riva Thapa, Golchha and Kumudini Shrestha, who have been collaborating with various local projects and organisations to reach far flung areas.

Shrestha, who also happens to be Gurung’s elder sister, says she talks to her brother everyday about the projects that are being conducted in the various affected districts. According to Shrestha, the team is particular about working with local communities and assessing the problems before starting work. “We want work with the community and make sure that every penny is being used,” she said, “Our goal is to reach the most inaccessible and marginalised communities and work there.”  

Soon after the quake, the foundation worked with the Nepal Red Cross Society to distribute immediate relief items to the earthquake survivors.  Likewise, they’ve worked with the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Center in Kavre where the foundation donated 32 wheelchairs, beds, mattresses, and pillows and have also covered the medicine and therapy for 50 patients for three months. In total, they made a donation of $10,250.   

In Dolakha’s Barbari Village, they are funding the construction of 1,086 temporary houses with zinc sheet roofs. While work on 140 houses have begun, Shrestha said the lack of availability of zinc sheets is causing delay in the completion of others.

In Rasuwa, they worked with Quake Relief Group, where they collaborated to distribute specific needs such as shelter materials, water supplies and rations to 593 marginalised families.  The foundation is also working in Sindhupalchok where they will be building temporary shelters in Gunsa VDC. They are working with Association of Students of Architecture; a team is surveying the VDC with local doctor Pasang Sherpa to assess local needs. At Lalitpur’s Ghusel VDC’s ward number 2, along with Entrepreneur’s Organisation Nepal, they are building 52 temporary shelter from zinc sheets.

While, immediate relief and temporary shelter is the need of the hour, Shrestha said, in the long run, they will be working towards Shiksha Foundation’s core focus, which is education. One of their upcoming projects is a reflection of the vision. Collaborating with Shreejanalaya, they have started an initiative Artwork! Sangai Khelau where a group of artists will reach Ghyachowk, Gorkha, next week. “The idea is to heal through art where children can express themselves through any art form,” said Shrestha.

They will be collaborating with local artist Dhwoj Gurung and The local Mother’s group popularly known as Aama Samuha where the focus will also be on education and psychosocial healing. According to information posted on the fundraising site, all of Shikshya Foundation Nepal’s board members, executives and staff have been volunteering their time and use personal resources for any costs incurred, which means that there are no overhead costs.

Published: 05-06-2015 08:23

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