(click on thumbnails to see larger images)
We all know of the terrible earthquakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12th. Like many people, we immediately responded to the earthquake by giving donations to various institutions dedicated to disaster relief.
It soon became apparent that much of the most immediate and effective relief work was being done by small groups of Nepalis and expat foreigners who were supplying relief to communities they knew and had a connection with.
One friend in Santa Fe, John Vavruska, set up a relief project for the village of Chupar, ancestral home of other mutual Nepali friends in Santa Fe, Uttam and Budu Rai, funneling donations through a small non-profit: http://plenty.org/news
. Uttam and John headed out to Nepal to bring needed goods to the village.
We also heard of the extraordinary relief efforts carried out by many young Nepalis, including groups centered on the Yellow House, a Bed and Breakfast hotel and Sunday market not far from our Nepal office run by a family friend Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati (see http://www.wired.com/2015/05/nepal- earthquake-aid
We were particularly inspired when Manika Rai, accounts manager of Websoft International and CEO of JobsNepal.com, joined with her JobsNepal.com colleagues and started their own relief program, first going out to Bhakatapur to help with cleanup and then hiring a truck to bring relief supplies to various remote communities.
Halchok after the earthquake
Our son Vajra was in Kathmandu, where he was born, for both quakes and witnessed some of the terrible destruction and loss of life in the Durbar square of Kathmandu where he has an apartment, thankfully in a modern, earthquake-resistant house. Just after the first quake, Vajra visited Halchok (pronounced Halchok), the village where we lived for over ten years in the 1980s and 1990s. While he was happy to report that his best friend in Nepal, Sukri Putwar, and his family were safe, there had been widespread destruction of the poorer houses of the village. Vajra wrote us on April 28,
"I went up to see Sukri at the village. 56 houses collapsed (out of what maybe 100?). All the old houses, gone. It's as if an entire memory has been erased. Sukri incredibly lucky to be alive. Made me realize that the real destruction in Nepal must be up in the little mountain villages, in the stone houses."
We decided that we wanted to help, and inspired by Manika's efforts with her JNDC crew, and with their eager participation, our team was able to send up a shipment of food and essential supplies to the homeless villagers encamped below the ruins. We are now planning to provide supplies for more substantial temporary housing, food, sanitation and other priorities.
First Halchok Relief mission: May 11, 2015
The not-for-profit organization Plenty International has graciously agreed to allow our Halchok relief effort to run donations through their organization, thus making donations tax-deductible in the US.
97% of donations will go directly to Halchok relief. We will be paying our own expenses for travel to Nepal and office staff there. If you would like to join this effort focused on helping one needy village, please choose one the below options:
1) Send a check, made out to Plenty International
- with a note on the memo line "Halchok Relief Nepal"
- directly to us at:
Lois and Ian Alsop
38 Old Galisteo Way
Santa Fe, NM 87508 USA
We will send the check on to Plenty, who will send you a tax deductible donation letter.
2) Visit the Plenty International Donate page, http://plenty.org/donate
And use either the Network for Good donation page or the Paypal donation page to make your donation via a Credit Card. In both of these cases, please be sure to designate the donation for Halchok relief Nepal, and also please send us an email letting us know how you've made the donation and how much you have donated so that we can enter it in our records and plan accordingly. Our email address is
Please consider adopting Halchok and helping "one village at a time" survive now and rebuild in the future.
Thank you for any help you can give, we and the villagers of Halchok appreciate it so much.
Ian and Lois, Vajra and Vasundhara Alsop
Elizabeth Winthrop, fund-raiser extraordinaire, New York
Manika Rai CEO of Jobsnepal.com and her JNDC team
Sameer Tuladhar and the WSI and Asianart.com team
Mahila and Mahili, Sukri Putuwar and family, Bal Bahadur Shahi and Sukhamaya and all the villagers of Halchok village, Halchok Bhairava sthan, high above the valley of Kathmandu