Many of us would like to help the folks in Nepal, and are wondering just how best to do it???
Coincident to the earthquakes, there happened to be members of Friends Peace Teams running Alternatives to Violence Workshops (AVP) as the earthquakes were occurring. I’ve been copied on several messages from an AVP acquaintance John Michaelis, a very active AVP facilitator from Australia , who was on the 5th floor of a shaking building when the quakes were occurring. Fortunately he and the workshop participants were not injured. John has been sending daily reports of the devastation and conditions in Katmandu. John and others were scheduled to fly home last week, but are now dedicated to staying to offer whatever assistance they can.
The message below outlines the need. While we individually may not be in a position to personally participate in relief efforts, Contributions to Friends Peace Teams http://www.fpt-awp.org/ are greatly needed and are a way in which Quakers and others might be able to directly help. The lower right of their web page outlines ways of donating.Peace
Below is the most recent communication from John:
I am still in Kathmandu where Subhash and I have been struggling to find most effective way Friends Peace Teams Asia West Pacific might further respond to the ongoing tragedy here.
We have discussed four different approaches:
- Choosing one badly damaged community that is disadvantaged such as an Untouchable or Dalit caste village or region, send volunteers there with immediately needed support such as food, water, clothing and materials for temporary shelter.
- Offering psycho-social counselling using AVP facilitators and others here who have that training..
- Providing support for finding homes for orphans
- Using our trained facilitators to offer Trauma Workshops for the many who have been traumatised.
After discussion we have narrowed our recommended focus to 1, 2, and 4. While the need for psycho-social counselling is real, it is relatively expensive because it is a one-on-one process. Trauma workshops on the other hand are effective and reach many participants. We have previously held trauma workshops in Nepal and have a number of trained facilitators here.
Supporting a community is the most urgent and we would like to act on this immediately. If funds are pledged we have limited money available in Nepal from concerned individuals so we can begin before the money transferred to Nepal.
We spoke today to Ram Paudel, one of our AVP lead facilitators and the the executive director ofÃ‚ Children Nepal, our partner in the Pokhara district of Nepal. For the past twenty years, a primary mission of theirs has been to find new families for orphaned children . They target a maximum of three months to find permanent homes for each child.
Trauma workshops are cost effective although we must compensate facilitators for time and travel because they must take leave to go to the areas of need.Ã‚
As we better understand the most immediate needs we may need to adapt to accommodate new information.
The life changing work done here and the relationships established in the past two months has been effective and greatly affirmed and appreciated and must continue. We will report separately on these events. We pray that the urgent support need for the earthquake tragedy does not detract from this.
We hope the need here will lead to significant empathy and financial support.
We would welcome your thoughts and suggestions a.s.a.p. If our approach is affirmed by FPT-AWPÃ‚ we will send out letters outlining the need as soon as we can.
Subhash and John in Kathmandu