We have updated our blog! With regular updates, we will share some of our most recent initiatives, our current short and long-term volunteers and projects all over south Asia. We will also share our Action Items which we hope that you will share with family and friends; small donations add up to a big impact!
Each month we will send out a description of current projects, fundraising initiatives and events. In this month’s update, we are featuring an updated blog post that will focus on the new Lotus Center in Goa and our current work in Nepal, including the fish farm campaign which continues to be our recent fundraising initiative. We are also highlighting the recent work with two long-term volunteers that each spent two months with us in south Asia.
This past April marked the one year anniversary of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal killing over 9000 people and injuring more than 23,000. Our team was quickly on the ground in Nepal after the quake; we jumped in to provide essential supplies to remote locations throughout the country, assisted in the evacuation of the critically injured, and set up basic medical camps for the sick and injured. The remote village of Manekharka, in the Sindhupalchowk district, suffered the complete loss of its school and damage to more than 90% of its houses in the earthquake.
In addition to the devastation, a local fish farm was damaged in the quake. We are now raising funds to provide operational support repairs to this farm. An operating fish farm for Manekharka will provide a sustainable source of income to the village that will be used to pay the salaries of teachers at the local school as it is rebuilt. It will also allow the people of Manekharka to have access to the nutritional benefits of an additional food source for the community. Our team will be visiting Manekharka in July to collaborate with a local NGO and discuss management of the project. Access may be limited depending on the monsoon, and we will be assessing the situation when we arrive. Please consider hosting a fundraising dinner to support the fish farm initiative.
We also spent time in Nepal last December working with several villages in collaboration with the German NGO, Initiative Nepal KIds (INK). The combination of the first winter after the 2015 earthquake, and the border blockade between India and Nepal exacerbated an already difficult time for these communities as they prepared for winter. We delivered over 2 tons of essential winter items including warm clothing, blankets, and medicine into the remote villages by helicopter, on foot, by 4×4 and truck convoy. Please continue to support our work in Nepal by direct donations– 100% of the funds go to these initiatives.
In March and April we were happy to host the first in an anticipated series of long-term volunteers in south India. We were joined by two volunteers who committed to two months each with Khusi Hona. Both volunteers brought unique skills and perspectives and worked hard as we got the Lotus Center open and functional. In addition to working on internal operations as a necessary part of our growing organization, we also focused on direct work in this community and around South Asia, including the beginning of the women’s empowerment program at the Lotus Center.
In August, we will also be joined by 13 adolescents and 2 teachers in a volunteer trip through various areas of northern India including Delhi, Dehradun, Chandigarh and Amritsar. These volunteers are from the Khusi Hona Woodstock Chapter which is based in upstate New York. This chapter began with three students and has grown over the past three years to a full group of 13. Students will be working on various educational programs in collaboration with Aasraa Trust in Dehradun, and dance music and feeding programs with Samarpan and Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR) in Chandigarh. These trips not only support the important initiatives and programs directly but they foster a heart for service in the students and adults who participate. These young volunteers can then bring this service mindset back to their own schools and communities and work to support their own local people in need. It has been a great experience to work with this chapter, and we look forward to the upcoming trip!
We are grateful for the enthusiasm and energy of all of our volunteers and we look forward to hosting future long and short term volunteers. Are you interested in being a volunteer?