GoPhil Video Reporting: Impact of donor contributions post 2015 earthquake
In 2015, GoPhilanthropic Foundation set off to expand its work in Nepal, a country of staggering natural beauty—yet one that also struggles with extreme poverty due to decades of political and economic instability. But our experience had taught us that areas facing the greatest difficultly are also places where you find people with the most strength and ingenuity.
On April 25, 2015 a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit this amazing country, sending it into an extremely difficult period. Almost 9,000 people lost their lives and a half a million people lost their homes. GoPhil had never been involved in a natural disaster of this scale and we knew we had no time to waste in connecting the dots, between our caring community and the people of Nepal needing support through a dark time.
Luckily, prior to the earthquake, we had made some solid partnerships with schools and community based programs, offering access to education where their had been little. We also had made connections to NGOs working on the front lines of human trafficking-a social issue that feeds on those who are the most vulnerable— something Nepal had more of now than ever.
In the months following the earthquake, GoPhilanthropic donors funded essential emergency relief. Amazingly, the small school programs that we had identified prior to the earthquake became central hubs for information and basic needs. With 2.8 million people displaced, schools became the center of a community, offering and important source of stability and normalcy. GoPhil donors helped to fund supplemental food programs and psychological counseling for children and families who were profoundly traumatized.
In a hard to reach area where the schools had been destroyed, we were able to build a Temporary Learning Center that offered a secure place for 250 children to continue learning.
Wanting to ensure that GoPhil’s funds made into safe hands, we hired Lilu KC to be our Program Manager. With Lilu on the team, we could build the trust needed to develop relationships in rural areas. She listened closely to the priorities of our partner programs so that GoPhil could facilitate and strengthen their own initiatives.
By the time attention turned to physically reconstructing Nepal—over 300 foreign organizations had arrived in with money, plans and volunteer groups ready to rebuild. Our objectives were simple–we would focus on projects that used local materials and innovative earthquake resistant methods. Most importantly though, we would collaborate with grassroots Nepali-led organizations who saw the value in decisions being made at the village level and ones that invested in training Nepali people to rebuild themselves.
In March 2016, just shy of the one year anniversary of the earthquake, GOPhil returned to Nepal with a group of our community members who were motivated to learn and connect first-hand with the people and programs we were involved with. It was difficult to see so many people still living in makeshift camps, hard to digest how much work was still to be done. On the surface, it seemed as though not much progress had been made at all. But we knew otherwise—we sat quietly with our partners and listened closely to what had been accomplished against huge odds. We were Inspired not only by the progress they had made, but by their patience, and ability to forge on. We evaluated what skills and training they needed to broaden and scale their work and then reaffirmed our desire to stand by them.
One of the most disturbing facts to come out of the earthquake, were statistics relating to human trafficking. Knowing early on that this major human rights issue was only being fueled by a natural disaster, we had offered a pilot grant to SASANE anti-trafficking, a small organization working at the source, in the mountainous areas of Nepal where trafficking rates are the highest due to lack of education and economic opportunity. Spending one on one time with them, we were able to truly appreciate the difference our funds were making . For the first time ever, women were learning to read and write —most importantly they were beginning to grasp what it meant to have control over their destinies.
GoPhil has since committed to both deepening and expanding its relationships within Nepal. Our current campaigns involve raising funds for educations programs, training local people to building using EQ resistant techniques, and for projects protecting vulnerable women and children from exploitation.
For information regarding our partner programs in Nepal, please email [email protected]
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