I rarely do this sort of thing here, but this is pretty important. Below is a letter Cristine sent to friends and family about how to help out with the tragic situation in Nepal. It is self-explanatory, but I want to add a few things. World Education is a fantastic organization that is not affiliated with any religion or government. The key here is that 100% of the money sent will get to Nepal to people who can be trusted to distribute it fairly. If you are looking for a way to help, this would be a great way to do so.
Hello, family and friends. I don’t usually do this, but as you all probably know, Nepal is close to my heart, since I lived there as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1979 and 1980 and have worked on a number of girls’ and women’s education projects there ever since. So I’m feeling uncharacteristically bold in reaching out to people. The earthquake has been devastating in a place so poor; luckily, all of the people with whom I am still in contact seem to be OK and are joining the relief effort. The town I lived in is not so far from the epicenter in Gorkha, and I fear that as the roads are cleared and we start to get a picture of what has happened outside of Kathmandu, the extent of the devastation will be tremendous.
I have a close friend, Chij Shrestha, who I first met in 1979 and with whom I worked for many, many years on World Education’s projects in Nepal. World Education is the non-profit organization I worked with before I came to UMass Amherst, and I still serve on the Board of Directors. Chij lives in Kathmandu, is retired from World Education, but has started a community organization for the area surrounding his home in Bandipur with 22 Dalit families who live in his neighborhood. The Dalits are the “untouchable” caste in Nepal, the poorest of the poor. Chij has set up an early childhood education center for these families, and I have heard from him that he will be working directly with these families in the rescue effort, as almost all of their houses were destroyed during the quake.
I wrote to the president of World Education, Joel Lamstein, a good friend of mine and our family, to see if they could facilitate donations directly to Chij and the work he supports with Dalits. Joel decided the best way to proceed would be to put up a banner on the World Education website so people could donate directly; 100% of all of the contributions will go immediately and directly to Chij and the groups in Nepal that he and World Education work with. I’m going to donate (from Jon and me) through this because I know for a fact that every dollar will go directly into the hands of the Chij and other people I know there, directly to people with whom he works.
So I’m sending you this link: http://www.worlded.org/WEIInternet/donate/index.cfm. If you would like to donate anything, knowing that your money will get directly to people who are hurting, please do. If not, that’s fine, too. Please don’t feel obligated. Just an avenue, if you are interested.
If you do donate, even a little, as you fill out the form, when you get to the box that says “Donate to a specific project”, write in “Chij Shrestha at the Nepal Relief Fund”.
I will keep in contact with Chij and keep you posted about what is happening there, whenever I hear from him and whenever I can.
Thanks for caring. Love, Cris