NOTE: As of August, 2015, we are now on phases 2 and 3 of those described below:
Three Phases for Helping
The best way to help immediately after such disasters is generally to donate to effective and efficient charities that have an established presence on the ground. We did extensive research on this, focusing first on organizations that have local offices and are easy to research/follow-up with.
As an immediate response, we raised over $75,000 for Oxfam on a “crowdrise” fundraiser we set up in order to give our supporters a straightforward avenue for donating toward relief efforts
We chose Oxfam because because of their expertise as a global leader in preventing secondary crises by providing clean water, sanitation, and shelter during emergencies. We also know that Oxfam has long been in Nepal, partnering with local organizations; It does what it says it will do.
Note: For YOUTH seeking to fundraise or help, please see the page ” How to Help Nepal: Kids” – We are recommending Unicef for them because of their focus on children, so that they might feel more connected to the cause.
Also: The only kind of volunteers that are beneficial in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters are those with medical or relief expertise. As for supplies, generally these are best handled by organizations that can deliver from places closer to that region at a fraction of the cost of sending from the US. If someone is traveling there, visit hands.org to inquire as to most needed supplies at this time (medical supplies, wash kits, sanitation supplies, tents…)
2) What comes next…
Initially, the larger international organizations have the capacity to process donations flooding in to support relief efforts, so we trust them to collaborate with the local groups to this end (selecting only those that have set up a process to allocate donations for Nepal’s recovery specifically to that cause). Moving past initial response, we will continue to support smaller organizations based in Nepal, especially those serving marginalized, vulnerable and/or remote populations. Look for updates on our “Recommended Charities for Nepal” page. This will include agencies we have visited or supported personally in the past. (Many are based on contacts made when Zillie was there with a social work group in 2001, and some referred to us by trusted friends – both Nepali and long-time US supporters). There is also potential for volunteers to go to Nepal to help with rebuilding (including us). We will consult with All Hands Volunteers to this end – http://www.hands.org/volunteer – and/or other organizations like this, as well as coordinate with our immediate family there. (We do have some uncles/aunts and cousins who have lost their homes; and Umesh’s brother is involved in some recovery projects).
3) Long term and rebuilding…
Our friends at the Ansara Family Fund have set up a U.S.-Nepal Fund through the Boston Foundation: www.tbf.org/Nepal
It will be advised by Nepali Americans (including Umesh) to invest in local Nepali community directed rebuilding and livelihood projects. (Note: The Bhujus have been friends with the Ansaras for over 20 years; The Ansara family was pivotal in founding the Haiti Fund in 2010, which led the way in identifying key development trends in Haiti including grassroots advocacy, decentralized development and capacity building. They have been generous in sharing the knowledge gained from their experience with Haiti in order to advise us in our response to the devastation in Nepal.) Alongside the U.S.-Nepal Fund, we will continue with support to the agencies listed on our “Recommended Charities for Nepal” page. Our long-term focus will be on the following:
- Support for long-term rebuilding efforts through effective and trusted organizations, especially those that have micro-loan programs to local people and business
- Support for local Nepalese organizations serving vulnerable, marginalized, and/or remote populations, as well as mental health work.
- Support local organizations in the US serving Nepali-Americans suffering indirect trauma and seeking ways to help family in Nepal