My name is Marli Gordon and I’ve been living in Kathmandu for 9 months now. I’m from the United States and initially planned to come to Nepal for social work. Luckily, my host-brother found me a great project for me building a school in Kavre.
I was in the middle of fund raising for the new school when the earthquake struck on April 25th. At first I didn’t realize the magnitude of the quake but slowly as news trickled out I began to understand how devastating the damage actually was. As soon as I knew there was a huge need for help I knew that’s that what I had to do.
I visited the school community in Kavre a few days after Saturday and for the first time got to see the reality of the situation in the countryside. Almost all of the houses were in shambles; just a pile of stone, wood and mud. It was terrible. That trip definitely motivated me to get started on some sort of relief work and that had to begin with funding.
I made a post on facebook with pictures and then emailed my friends and family and explained the situation. Their reaction was unbelievable. People back home were desperate to find a good cause and help in any way that they can. I felt so so lucky to have the family that I have who support me unconditionally and are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that I am successful.
They spread the word about my work here in Nepal and the response was immediate. I was blown away by the amount of support and in three weeks we had collected $12,000.
Of course we couldn’t wait for the money to actually go to affected areas and bring aid. My local contact, Bhuwan Rokka, worked hard to gather donations so that we could provide basic relief materials to villages. Our group, TINY Help for Education, first went to support a school community in Nuwakot that we had been working with for a long time.
The school lost government funding and is now run by one man, the Principal who solely supports the school. We focused on the students and provided them and their families with food, medicine and tarps.
We made other similar trips, donating only basic aid but now we are focusing on providing materials for temporary shelters. With the monsoons coming in a week, we have to do our best to provide the most people with proper shelters as we can.
That is our goal at the moment but I have no plans to leave this country soon. I know that this crisis will not be over in a year or three so that rebuilding this country has to be a long-term project. I am trying to form an NGO from our group and our goal will be to rebuild schools in affected areas.
However, we will not be building the entire school ourselves because it is crucial that the villagers come together and realize their own capabilities. It is extremely important that they regain confidence as well as for the community to be able to regain a sense of normalcy.
I believe that with the proper support Nepal can definitely rebuild. It is going to take a very long time but it is possible. Nepali people have always managed to survive with very limited means and they will adjust. The crucial thing is that they regain a psychological well-being.
This crisis has been very traumatic for Nepali people. Many have lost everything including a sense of security so that is what we must focus on regaining. Only when Nepalis are mentally ready, will they be able to rebuild their lives.
Please contact me at 9818307280 for any questions and if you are interested in donating or volunteering.