Immediate response for Nepal from the GoPhilanthropic Community 

Dealing with the massive earthquake this April in Nepal was a new situation for all of us at GoPhil, staff and donors alike, requiring swift reactions and critical decisions. Amazingly, within twelve hours of the news, our donor community showed tremendous solidarity for a country in deep need. Donations exceeded $25,000 by month two of fundraising, a sum far exceeding our expectations and one that fortunately continues to grow as the costs of rebuilding become a reality.
We realized in the very early stages that immediate relief (food, tents and medical support) to Nepali citizens required an infrastructure and experience beyond our means–a role better suited for organizations equipped for disaster situations.  While we did provide funding for basic necessities, we focused our efforts primarily in three areas:
    • Raising funds to rebuild some of the hundreds of thousands of homes that have been destroyed
    • Making sure contributions traveled directly into the hands of transparent, community-led and organized initiatives, free of corruption
    • Providing support for children’s educational programs so children could resume a normal life
None of these objectives would prove easy within an already poor and politically unstable region, but with the right combination of due diligence and connections to honest people and programs, we feel we have been able to achieve this.
We wanted to offer you a glimpse of the difference your support has made, and will continue to make in the months ahead, as the long process of rebuilding begins. We find so often in the non-profit world that donors do not fully understand how their funds were used. Transparency has always and will continue to be a responsibility we take seriously.


We have outlined below our current effort to provide 100 transitional homes ($500 each) and two classrooms in a rural village in Central Nepal as well as details on our Journey to Nepal next March.

Trusted partners had already been identified…

GoPhilanthropic Founder Lyda Dean was in Kathmandu at the time of the earthquake.  While it was an unfortunate time to be in Nepal, the silver lining was that a handful of programs had been thoroughly researched and assessed in the weeks prior.  Staying true to our mission, we selected two community-based programs, Dadagaun Village Project and TOIT School in Bhaktapur, providing quality education to children in underprivileged areas.  We had also identified knowledgeable and responsible tour operators to manage our travel logistics for our planned Journey To Nepal scheduled for March 2016.
None of us knew at the time that this small network of relationships made up of guides, travel experts, and non-profit leaders, would provide the trusted pathway needed after the disaster occurred, to keep essential information and critically needed money flowing into the right places.  Not all of our raised funds have been dispersed as we await assessments on needs and options for rebuilding materials.

Rebuilding in Dadagaun

GoPhilanthropic’s Earthquake Fund will grant $6,000 for rebuilding to the village of Dadagaun, located ten kilometers outside of Kathmandu.
In the hours following the earthquake, we gathered the news that almost 90% of the homes in Dadagaun had been destroyed or severely damaged.  This was devastating to hear after having visited the village only days before.  The orphanage had completely collapsed;  fortunately, there with no fatalities.


Collaboration (something that is not happening enough among the 2000 international aid agencies now in Nepal) immediately took place among various funding groups to coordinate efforts.  Our travel partner, Steve Webster, has arranged for the purchase of four mechanical compressed earth brick-making machines from China for the villagers to share.
Recycled earth is used from the mudbricks of the old dwellings, no electricity is needed, and the shape of the brick allows for reinforcement with concrete beams horizontally and steel rods vertically, increasing future earthquake tolerance.  A portion of your donations will be applied to the brick-making machines and the rest to the materials needed to reconstruct the homes.
A great deal of work lies ahead for this small community–one of thousands facing the same daunting task, but the semblance of a plan is in place and decisions being made at the village level, where they belong. We are paying particular attention to the needs of the school in the village which was where we had originally anticipated applying grants for additional teacher salaries, prior to the earthquake. Resuming regular classes has provided a much needed and healthy diversion for the children.

TOIT School becomes a hub for the community

In times of disaster, schools can often become the focal point for a community–for communication, planning, support and of course, a return to normalcy for children. GoPhilanthropic has granted $4,260 for food and psychological counseling to TOIT School outside Bhaktapur–an ancient heritage city that was suffered an enormous amount of damage. With our contributions, TOIT has been able to provide a free lunch program for the 100 children attending school and also begin to offer psychological counseling to all of the students, many of whom are suffering from the effects of post traumatic stress.

Distributing basic needs where relief had not yet reached small villages

We are often quite amazed at how the GoPhil dots of care and concern are connected across the miles.  A few weeks after the earthquake, a friend of a GoPhil partner program in Laos contacted Tenzing Lessang, a Sherpa guide he had met in Nepal on a trekking trip. Tenzing was deeply concerned for his friends and family who reside in Dimbul, a village in the Northeast region of Nepal, too remote for emergency relief to reach.  Fortunately, GoPhil was able to facilitate a grant of $2,000
directly to Tenzing in conjunction with our partner non-profit (Karma Foundation) so that he could begin the long trek in the monsoon rains to deliver needed cooking oil, food and other necessities.
In addition Karma Foundation recently received a grant for their relief work. Stay tuned for specific updates.

Next steps–rebuilding another 75 homes

With the monsoon season upon us, providing housing for the 250,000 people who have been displaced and living underneath tarps and tents is a serious priority, not to mention a major health concern as families live on wet earth, with pooling water.  In addition to having lost their homes and loved ones, many rural Nepali families depend upon subsistence farming as a means to survive.  Without the ability to keep drains dry, many are faced with losing their only means of survival.  We are currently collaborating with The World is My Country Foundation, an organization with deep ties to Nepal and connections to a vast network of local,  professional volunteers.  They have trained villagers from 63 households in building transitional housing and two community centers.  With the help of GoPhilanthropic funding, we hope to build an additional 100 transitional homes and 2 classrooms in the village of Daragaun (not to be confused with the village of Dadagaun referred to above:).
The budget for this project totals $50,000.  We are working on a potential grant opportunity for $30,000 — a remaining $20,000 would then be needed,  The cost to build a home is $500 and includes all of the training, tools and building materials.   The transitional structures solve some important immediate needs and can later be used to store grain or livestock as more permanent structures.   Any financial help in providing these structures is very greatly appreciated.

Join us as we journey to Nepal March 20-29th, 2016

Join us as we return to Nepal to experience the resilience of the human spirit first-hand and to see how communities are rebuilding their lives, their homes and their ancient monuments.  Connect in-person with the communities where GoPhil is applying grants and support.  We have already filled half the seats on the journey so please do reach out to us soon if you are interested in joining.