We are excited to announce that your support of Gurkha Welfare Trust has helped complete 400 homes! As they say on their website, "That’s 400 veterans or their widows who now have somewhere safe to live after last year’s devastating earthquakes reduced their old homes to rubble." In fact, we are now one-third of the way to rebuilding all of the 1,200 Gurkha homes that were destroyed and hope to have them all rebuilt by June 2017. Right now, the construction process has begun on 380 additional homes. You can read more about the specifics of Gurkha’s building process in our previous blog post.
As you may recall, on April 25, 2015, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake caused an avalanche on Mt. Everest, creating mudslides, and destroying more than half a million homes. As the Nepalese were just beginning to recover, a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit on May 12. Response efforts were complicated and delayed due to further damage and because many response workers were injured or killed by the second quake.
Nearly 9,000 people were killed and almost 22,000 were injured. In response, FBB launched a Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive and announced in June that $45,000 was raised and distributed to The Women’s Foundation Nepal and Society of Humanism Nepal. An additional $32,000+ was raised for Gurkha Welfare Trust.
We chose Gurkha Welfare Trust, a local organization, not only because they were already active in recovery activities, but also because they have a strong long-term recovery plan serving their target communities. Gurkhas are soldiers from Nepal who have been recruited by the British army since 1815, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with limited industry, state-funded services, and infrastructure. Gurkha Welfare Trust provides financial, medical, and development aid to Gurkha veterans, their families, and their communities.
Because of the Trust’s long presence in the community before the earthquakes hit, they were able to identify and aid the areas that had the most need. In the immediate wake of the earthquakes, the Trust provided medical care, emergency supplies, and emergency shelter.
The goal of the Humanist Disaster Recovery Drive program is to donate to local organizations rather than large international aid organizations, which can face inefficiencies in the aftermath of such large disasters. The local community is by far best suited to guide their own recovery, as they know what their community needs most. Our primary objective of HDR Drive is to empower capable local organizations and survivors throughout their community’s recovery process. Following the success of this HDR Drive, we will continue to use this model moving forward.
As always, we thank you for your generous support in helping the people in Nepal recover from this devastating earthquake. And thanks to the American Humanist Association, who we are grateful to partner with in support of HDR Drives.
Follow Humanist Disaster Recovery Network on Facebook for updates on future HDR Drives and for information on volunteering with HDR Teams,check out our website. You can also follow Foundation Beyond Belief on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on all of our programs, including HDR Teams and drives.