Stand with Nepal Event great success!

Thanks to this amazing community, over 130 participants joined this “Stand with Nepal” event – It was standing-room only!

Informative presentation from Oxfam America’s acting director of global humanitarian response, Nahuel Arenas, was followed by involved discussions with local representatives from US-Nepal Fund, All Hands Volunteers, Himalayan Health Care, Headwater’s Relief, EDWON, and Pailo-Paila Donation for Nepal.

The news dwindles, but the need stays, and our remarkable community stands with people in their time of need. Thank you everyone.  

Here is a link to a local news story about the event:  ZUMIS-for-Nepal Powers Ahead

And for some background, here is a link to a Salem News story before event

ABOUT the featured guests:

Guest presenter:  NAHUEL ARENAS; Acting Director of Global Humanitarian Response for Oxfam America

website: OXFAM America in Nepal

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.

Other special guests:

The following individuals reside locally and are actively and directly involved with specific aspects of recovery and redevelopment in Nepal.

1. David Campbell – Founder and Chairman – All Hands Volunteers

David Campbell, a former tech exec from Carlisle, MA, has managed over 50 disaster response projects around the world over the past 10 years. He combines lessons learned elsewhere with locally specific circumstances. In Nepal, his organization is currently planning TLC construction, with intentions to do housing and school builds.

Here is a summary from website:

“In addition to meeting with over 20 potential partners for reconstruction projects (such as Mercy Corps, Room to Read, and Unicef), All Hands’ response teams are currently working with the Nepalese Army and Engineers Without Borders in Melamchi, Sindhupalchok . . .

. . . Part of All Hands’ approach to reconstruction is to enable each community to participate in its own rehabilitation and thereby regain a sense of dignity and self-sufficiency. Also, the comprehensive training program in build-back-better techniques is intended to have a multiplier effect . . . Nepalese beneficiaries will be empowered to “pay it forward” as they help their neighbors and relatives. They will also be given certificates attesting to their new skills, making them eligible for jobs in the country’s reconstruction economy.”

Note: Visit the website of their local partner: to view a film just released.

Outline of their current “Fast Track Program”:

Phase 1: Assessment and Design – 2 months – estimated cost $35,000

Phase 2: Construction of Pilot Homes – 3 months – estimated cost $250,000

Phase 3: Scaling up and Replications – 18 months – estimated cost $2 million

David will be departing for Philippines and Nepal on July 24th, and will be in Nepal July 31st to August 10th.

  1. Dr. Rob McKersie – President – Himalayan Health Care (HHC)

Dr. McKersie is a family physician from Lawrence, MA, who has volunteered in Nepal through HHC, Inc. for the last 13 years. He has also volunteered in Haiti, post 2010 earthquake, the Dominican Republic, and South Africa. Presently, he practices the full gamut of family medicine both in this country, where he is on the faculty of Lawrence Family Medicine Residency Training Program; and internationally.

Up until the earthquake, HHC was involved in a three-pronged approach to sustainable community building: healthcare, education, and income generation. Since April 25th they have been involved in rescue, relief, and now rebuilding operations in the 4 villages (Tipling, Shertung, Lapa, and Jharling) in the Dhading region, north of KTM. They hope to continue their medical treks to affected villages as well as massive rebuilding needed there.

Note: the award winning movie “Hearts in the Himalayas,” that was produced about HHC’s work in Nepal, can be found on the HHC website. It is 20 min long.

A rough outline of their plans for July-August are as follows:

  1. Distribution of food for 3 villages of Sherthung, Tipling and Lapa (approx.. budget $45,000)
  2. Reconstruction of partially damaged health posts ($15,000)
  3. Boundary wall and repair of Ilam hospital building (cracks due to earthquake) ($20,000)
  4. Replacement of livestock in 3 villages ($50,000)

Dr. McKersie had just returned to the States from Nepal, after a three week medical mission with his medical residents, when the earthquake hit. He returned one month later, for two weeks of relief work, and he will most likely return to Nepal in the Spring of 2016.

  1. Kelly Trolander – Volunteer – Headwaters Relief and

Kelly is a licensed Social Worker from Boxford, MA. She has been providing services to families and children for over 25 years, with extensive experience in grief counseling as a hospital social worker for the past 12 years. She has dealt with trauma and disasters during Gabby Giffords shooting in Tucson (where she lived at the time), after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and professionally with some of the Individuals injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. She went to Nepal on May 17th with Headwaters Relief

Headwaters Relief is a nonprofit organization founded over 10 years ago (founder is Kelly’s friend Dr. Rebecca Thomley, CEO and owner of Meridian Services, where Kelly worked as Executive Director when she lived in Minnesota). Headwaters is partnered with World Vision and Gr3 for disaster relief and mental health support. In her recent trip to Nepal, Kelly’s team worked out of Scheer Memorial Hospital in Banepa and Jiri Hospital in Jiri, Nepal. Their role was to train the Doctors and medical staff on Psychological First Aid. They also spent many hours in the villages of Nepal that were hardest hit, working with the families and children providing support and counseling in the aftermath of the earthquake. They brought in medical supplies and also worked with a local agency to help them get funding to rebuild houses.

Kelly will be returning to Nepal in the fall with Headwaters Relief – She said of her experience:

“It was difficult but amazing. The people of Nepal opened their hearts and villages to us. There is so much more to be done these kind people have lost so much!”

  1. Passang Richey – volunteer – Donation for Nepal, grassroots startup

Passang was born in Nepal and lived there until he was 10 years old, when he moved to Gloucester MA where he has lived for the past 14 years. He is a student at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston, but currently taking a leave from school to work. Passang has family in Nepal and made many friends there over the past 2 years while visiting the country.

The “relief and rebuilding” organization that Passang is now part of in Nepal started after the earthquakes. The founders own a hostel for tourists in Nepal. They started with doing alot of rubble cleaning, and then began building temporary shelters, planting trees, and really “anything to better our Nepal”. As a volunteer for Donation for Nepal, Passang led a couple groups of volunteers and built temporary shelters in villages and outskirts of Kathmandu. He says, “I really enjoy working with the people from this organization; I have learned a lot from them.” They are currently working on rebuilding schools and temporary homes. Passang says they are are having some problems with funding but not so much with manpower/volunteers.

Passang was in Nepal from Jan 19th until June 19th, and he extended his stay for a month so that he “could stick around and finish what I had started.” He is planning on returning to Nepal either this December or January, when he intends to spend his time “building homes and doing whatever needs to be done to help out the nation.”

  1. Eva Kasell – cofounder, EDWON – Empower Dalit Women of Nepal

Eva, of Cambridge, is an architect by profession, but has been a full time volunteer in an effort to build EDWON, which she co-founded in 2003, having had ties to Nepal since 1998. Relief work was not part of EDWON’s repertoire previously, but has quickly become so now.

EDWON’s mission is to empower marginalized women in rural areas by organizing them into savings groups. Through education, EDWON offers them tools to develop economically, to claim their human rights and to live in dignity.

Through grants to women-led committees, EDWON is organizing construction of homes and sanitary facilities for 28 communities in which they have women’s savings groups. They hope to be able to help 1400 families or about 7,000 people in southern Gokrha.  Most are women and children. More long term they are looking at livelihood skills development.

Eva was in Nepal in March this year to work with their partner, ADWAN. The villages she visited are now 80% destroyed.

  1. Maggi Alexander – US-Nepal Fund at The Boston Foundation

 The Center for Global Philanthropy at The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) established the The US-Nepal Fund at the Boston Foundation, a unique donor advised fund that will draw from the wisdom of Nepali Americans and international development experts to assist grassroots Nepali organizations caring for the victims of the earthquakes which struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12. Nepali involvement will ensure cultural competence, provide needed networks, and lend crucial expertise to ensure every dollar sent goes to organizations that can have the greatest impact locally. All funds raised will support community-led, long-term reconstruction and renewal with attention to human rights.

The US-Nepal Fund is seeded by a challenge grant from donors of the Boston Foundation community, Karen Keating Ansara and Jim Ansara. The Ansaras, long-time grant makers to Nepal, will match the first $100,000 in gifts from other funders. All donations will support reconstruction and renewal efforts, as administrative fees will be covered through the initial grant. The fund will distribute all funds by December 2015.

The US-Nepal Fund will draw on lessons learned through The Haiti Fund and the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund. “Lessons from Haiti have taught us how essential philanthropy is to a natural disaster response effort,” said Karen Ansara. “We saw foreign aid pledges committed, but often not fulfilled. We also learned that engaging a country’s US diaspora is so important when responding to an immediate crisis. The diaspora of any country is one of its most priceless resources,” she said. “They have the passion, they have the staying power, and they often have tremendous technical expertise.”

  1. Umesh and Zillie Bhuju – hosts – Zumis-for-Nepal

Umesh Bhuju was born in Nepal and came to the US in 1990. He and his wife, Zillie, own ZUMI’S cafe, which has always upheld a business model that promotes social justice and supports the wellbeing of the local and global community and environment. One relevant example is that in 2006, Zumis coordinated with Oxfam America’s Coffee Campaign to host fair trade coffee farmers in Ipswich, where they presented their stories at the café.

In 2001, Zillie participated in a social work tour of Nepal, and gained insights that have helped inform recent decisions on how to help Nepal now. Mobilizing quickly after the earthquakes was a natural extension of what ZUMI’s does – The family’s personal connection to Nepal simply magnified the depth and scope of their drive to help, and was a major factor in the overwhelming response from their community. After raising nearly $80,000 for Oxfam America’s Earthquake Relief work, the couple is now shifting their focus to long-term rebuilding, and will be advising the US-Nepal Fund at the Boston Foundation to this end.

Umesh and Zillie last visited Nepal with their three daughters in 2011. Umesh’s brother, Babesh Bhuju of Natick, MA, will be going to Nepal with his wife, Liz Bhuju, in the fall

Umesh and Babesh Bhuju with event poster

Umesh and Babesh Bhuju with event poster


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