As you may know, some of my Tibetan carvings are based on the calligraphy of Tashi Mannox, and whenever one of them is bought I contribute 20% of the profits to Rokpa International, an NGO that cares for sick, homeless and orphaned children in the Himalayas. Here’s the latest bulletin from Rokpa on the earthquake and its effects. Please consider supporting them: the bulletin contains a link to their donation page.
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Dear Mr Brookes
However, the children have been sleeping outside all this time – some of them in the rain. There have been loads of aftershocks – the last one happen today. Everybody is traumatized and still scared. Our land is shared with neighbors, tourists and random people who need help – it’s a real camping site. Our bigger children cook meals in big pots over open fires. So far drinking water has been available and people are being cared for. All kids and the staff are great and work very hard to protect the smaller children and whoever has become part of our extended family. They look after a lady in a wheelchair who has been coming to visit for years and is stuck there now. They help her with everything and are – as a volunteer told me today – real angels. Patient and always ready to help her and anyone there. I was told that I can be proud of my kids. But I knew that already …
On first sight, the ROKPA Children’s Home looks okay. There are some deep cracks in the walls – but we are not sure if there has been structural damage to the building. Until an specialist has checked the house thoroughly for damage, (I have asked the Swiss Ambassador today to help with this) the kids and staff will mostly be sleeping outside. It’s cold at night and it rains a lot, which makes things even more difficult.
The ROKPA Guest House is full and we just heard that the Guest are deeply grateful to be able to stay there as they feel the house is solidly built and several of them said that they feel so lucky and safe there. At the moment six doctors from Australia, USA and India are staying with us and use the garden as the control center for their activities. There is a scarcity of certain foods but during the last two days they had access to some fruit and even fresh milk. They only get fresh carrots and cauliflowers, so the restaurant has been serving simple meals. But nobody is complaining.
What’s the most urgent need at the moment?
What are the needs on-site?
Food, water and tents are important but epidemics could also break out. Alistar and Nerea from ROKPA in Euskadi have been truly amazing in their immediate support – they have found tents not only for us but also for others and large medical kits, some of which will already arrive this week. This has not been an easy task because infrastructure has been extensively damaged and only a few planes have been flying into Kathmandu.
What are our activities on-site?
We are in the process of putting together emergency volunteer groups who will go to areas where help is so urgently needed. Some older children from our Children’s Home who have been impatient to find out what happened to their families in the hills and remote regions will be part of these groups and lead them there. The local and the foreign volunteers will take food, water and medicine and hopefully alleviate some of the shocking suffering. The emergency groups will be taught – if they aren’t already trained – in first aid assistance. This will be done in parts by Tal, my nephew who has been trained in this by the Israeli army and is flying out as we are writing this.
Today, our kids have started a mobile soup kitchen. They went to a village 2.5 hours from Kathmandu in the early morning, taking 100 kilos of rice, lentils, sugar, salt and tea and distributing this amongst the people that have lost their homes (see the small film on Facebook). Furthermore, we also try to organize school activities on our land. Most schools in the area are damaged and will be closed for weeks if not months. Teachers from these schools are asked right now to come and continue their classes here.
Thank you for all your past and future help – together we can move mountains!!!
We will keep you posted….
It would be nice to get your feedback to this Update and send us any questions you might have.
Best wishes and warm greetings to all of you,