Panel in Boston re: Philanthropic Response and Nepal

On Thursday, June 18th, 2015, Umesh joined a panel discussion hosted at the Boston Foundation entitled:  Rebuilding and Recovering: The role of international philanthropy in Nepal, Haiti, and other natural disasters

Umesh was one of two Nepali-Americans to talk about the philanthropic response to the Nepal Earthquake, the other being Manas Adhikari of Baupost Group.  Other panelists included Haiti Fund Director Peter Noelle, All Hands Volunteers Founder David Campbell, China Charity Alliance Director YouPing Liu, and China Charity Donation Development Center Director ShiJie Zhang.

Facilitated by The Philanthropic Initiative’s Partner at the Center for Global Philanthropy, Maggi Alexander and PhilanSci Founder Helen Yingsheng Li, the conversation explored what lessons have been learned to effectively respond to disasters and how they are being applied in Nepal, what the local Nepali diaspora community is doing to assist with recovery, and how China’s foundations and NGOs, as newcomers to international philanthropy have contributed both in direct response and as funders.


Event: July 9th, 2015

*Photo courtesy of Aubrey Wade / Oxfam

Thank you to all who supported our fundraising efforts, for Oxfam, to help the people of Nepal.  You helped us raise over $77,000.00 in less than two months!  We were deeply moved by the outpouring of compassion and generosity immediately following the earthquakes, and we want you to know that your help has already gone a long way in Nepal.

We invite you to join us to hear directly from the Acting Director of global Humanitarian Response for Oxfam America, Nahuel Arenas (See Bio below).  This is an exciting opportunity to hear first-hand about Oxfam’s work in Nepal, and about accountability in humanitarian aid delivery.  Come learn how Oxfam’s approach to local partnership, rather than charity, comes into play in their relief and recovery work in Nepal and around the world.

When: Thursday, July 9th at 5:30pm to 8:00pm  (presentation at 6:00)

Where:  10 Estes Street – EBSCO’s Riverside Conference Room (Parking available in EBSCO lots)

Light refreshments will be provided; with live acoustic music by Peter Mercier of Salem.


Umesh (aka “Zumis”), with his kids, in Bandipur, Nepal, in 2011.

Please join this event on Facebook, via Zumi’s FB page, so we have an estimation on how many guests to expect:  – Thank you.


About Nauel Arenas, Acting Director of global Humanitarian Response for Oxfam America:


Nahuel Arenas joined Oxfam in 2007 and since then has occupied several positions in the organization, leading humanitarian responses in Mozambique, Chad, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, South Sudan and supporting Oxfam’s response in Haiti. He has previously worked for Action Against Hunger and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in different countries, and consulted for UN-HABITAT. He holds a Master’s degree in International Politics by the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), and degrees in Crisis Management and Public Policy. Nahuel joined Oxfam America in 2013 as Deputy Humanitarian Director, and is currently Acting Director of the Humanitarian Response Department.

Newburyport concert for Nepal

Zillie and Umesh Bhuju with Sheila and Joel Grossman

Zillie and Umesh Bhuju with Sheila and Joel Grossman

Sunday night (6/14), we were honored to be part of a special grassroots fundraiser in Newburyport, MA.  Sheila and Joel Grossman coordinated a musical fundraiser simply because they felt compassion for the people of Nepal and wanted to do something. With the help of their community, local businesses, and musician Melissa Ferrick, they pulled together a beautifully inspiring event that filled the air with uplifting energy, and raised awareness and funds for Nepal’s recovery since the devastating earthquakes.  We were inspired by great music from the talented, singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick,  Liz Frame and the Kickers, and others.  Once again, we are humbled by people like those we met Sunday night and their generosity of spirit!

Liz Frame and the Kickers

Liz Frame and the Kickers

Melissa Ferrick

Melissa Ferrick

GOAL Reached!

WOW!!!  Today, the $75,000.00 goal was met on our fundraising event at – This is truly amazing!!!!


We still feel deeply moved by the support from our local community for the earthquake relief and rebuilding work in Nepal.  Today, we read stories from Nepal about schools reopening, with many rural schools held in makeshift structures, and the children are more grateful to have a “school day” than most kids I know are to have a vacation day!  A natural disaster of this magnitude puts things in a whiole new perspective.  There is still alot of work to do, but this milestone for school-children shows us that the relief efforts have made an immeasurable impact.  

Here is a snapshot from Oxfam in Nepal right now:


We are working on a plan for early July to host an event for our community to share more about Nepal and the impact of this kind of support there since the earthquakes, as well as “what’s next.”  Will post information about this soon!

Thanking our community

After the two major earthquakes in Nepal on April 25th and May 12th, with the numerous aftershocks and tremors, devastating communities in Nepal, we felt helpless at first in our desire to help from this great distance.  But – immediately – our community here on the north shore of Massachusetts became like a bouy for us as we navigated the world of philanthropic support for relief efforts, followed by long-term needs for rebuilding, always with human rights and concern for vulnerable populations weighing on our hearts. We thank our community for playing this role with such genuine compassion, and following that with such an overwhelming outpouring of support.

Since we set up this website, we are now only a few hundred dollars shy of our $75,000.00 goal to support OXFAM-Nepal via  Check out this article about the impact of crowdfunding in helping agencies in Nepal:


In addition to this, thousands of dollars were raised toward UNICEF-Nepal by children across the north shore – Many are showing their support with prayer and messages of hope – some hanging prayer flags, others creating messages of hope on small “prayer flags” and/or banners (some hanging at Zumi’s now) – We have been sharing photos of these messages with contacts in Nepal, letting them know that their struggles are known and children across the globe are thinking of them with care and support.


Prayer Flags at Zumis

Customer Derek Cooper's backyard prayer-flags

Customer Derek Cooper’s backyard prayer-flags


Ipswich Middle School made banners with messages of hope and support, now hanging up inside Zumi’s!

Messages from Ipswich for children in Nepal

Messages from Ipswich for children in Nepal


More mini-prayer flags at Zumi’s!


Shugrue boys of Topsfield supporting UNICEF in Nepal


Kiki LaRouge of Newburyport with prayer flags at her photography studio, doing her part to support the people of Nepal.


Umesh and Zillie speaking with students at Brookwood School

front flags

Prayer Flags at Brookwood keep the energy flowing to support kids in Nepal

flags back

While Nepal is no longer in the headlines, the needs there are still quite pressing as the monsoon season begins and thousands are still struggling.  This means we are now moving into our “phase 2” efforts.
The Ansara family has started a new fund at the Boston Foundation called the US-Nepal Fund, with a starting match of $100,000.00 in seed funds, to support community-led, long-term reconstruction and renewal with attention to human rights in Nepal.  This will now become our focus at Zumi’s in our work to help Nepal during this challenging period.  Here is the url:
Umesh and I will be among the advisors for the fund, and will also be looking to host en event about it in the near future, as well as find a method to accept and process donations that are less than the $250.00 minimum on the Boston Foundation donations page.  We are connecting with organizations in Nepal, and individuals in our area and in Nepal, in our effort to support the experts at the Boston Foundation and The Center of Global Philanthropy, which is directing the fund.   Umesh has also been invited to be part of a panel about the role of philanthropy in Nepal – at the Boston Foundation on June 18th.