Earthquake in Nepal has affected people in many different ways. A significant population of the country is still reliving their worst nightmares as the aftershocks continue. For so many, the loss has been grave, one that I can barely comprehend.
Then there is another party, one that was left physically unharmed, those who have been living abroad but with very close ties back home, people like me. The emotional effect of what has happened and what is happening in Nepal has had a great impact on people like me. Some have traveled the distance to be with their loved ones and to help out. Others, constantly reaching out to their loved ones back home and seeking support from each other, and contributing, thinking, worrying and rallying to generate the much needed support for those back home. There is profound guilt for being so far away and perhaps therefore an increased sense of inner turmoil to figure a way out to help the greatest population in the most effective way. The regret pinches even deeper when news of casualties include those conducting the rescue efforts, even more when they went from another country to save our homes. Then there is the paralyzing effect of not being able to quite comprehend or get that “need to do something” feeling converted into action. I had started to write this blog two weeks back and with so many on-the ground and expert opinions pouring in, I could not find the ability to complete this blog post nor find the will to write anything else. But inaction is the worst place to be when you know you might be able to contribute. Each night has been an action plan that needed some concrete actions. So, here I am making a commitment to myself to try and reach out in the best possible way I know how.
The blog post I had continued to write was one of hope, one of the understanding that the aftershocks were dwindling down, and one that focused on the need to rebuild, ……….. one where I wanted to share my views for coming together and acting as one. I continue on that route, however, the tone of the blog post needed to be toned down, because the aftershocks not only continued but Nepal got hit with yet another strong earthquake. Being hopeful is the only way to keep going, the unexpected blow that cannot be predicted, the one that is known to us as nature, has me mellowed down. I can only talk about things that I can have the remotest control over. and I think we as a community need to come together with a strategy to contribute more effectively. While we have contributed in our own ways but need to contribute has just begun.
The global support that the country has experienced has us indebted. Nepalese youth have been out on the streets taking on the task of coordination, fundraising, and relief and restoration works with such commendable vigor, setting precedence for the whole nation to come together. Bibeksheel Nepali, Association of Youth Organizations Nepal, Green Governance Nepal, Nepal 425 Relief Volunteers, The X-Vanasthalian’s Club, Beyond Beijing Committee, Namsaling Community Development Center, Nepal Engineers’ Association, are a few groups whose works I have followed on Facebook but I know that there have been individual and group efforts everywhere on the ground. The sense of responsibility that the Nepalese community at large has embraced needs be sustained for a long-long haul.
There are so many things to be done, some immediate, many for long-term, The intensity of help will continue to wind down if we don’t come up with a coordinated plan to sustain this. There has been wonderful initiatives all over the globe to raise awareness, raise funds, and take action from afar in so many of the creative ways. But we have to be able to come together to share ideas, and share our visions so that we can hold each other accountable for a path we will have to continue to take for a distance, if we are to build our country back.
Nepali community and youth have come to the streets with open heart and such zeal, but the momentum can only go for so long. As each of us are back to our own business, we have to try and make sure that the youth in Nepal continue to be in the forefront of the restoration efforts. Giving internship and employment opportunities to our youth in the rebuilding and restoration process could be our single best immediate and long-term investment in this rebuilding process.
There are many issues to address: relief, rebuilding, relocation, equity, education, natural heritage, ………………….
The list might seem endless but the resources are limited. Each of us has our own sensibilities, our own experiences, and our own preferences for where, when and how to contribute. Each one important. The more the choices, the more the confusion, and the more the confusion, the more the likelihood to stay back and do nothing.
Technology has brought us so closer, then let technology be our best friend to share our ideas, build a platform where we can identify sectors and regions where the help is required and where each one of us can choose to contribute to. We have to make each dollar, each rupee stretch as far as we can and we have to find ways for each of us willing souls to contribute to a cause in the best possible way we can.
This blog is an appeal to everyone to start a dialogue in a constructive way. One, where we are not pointing out flaws in someone’s ideas, but rather expanding on them, contributing to them, and to find and/or continue contributing to rebuilding Nepal in ways that allows us to put our best foot forward. There is so much of strength within us, among us – we need to find a way to bring it all together before following our own different paths. We need a forum where each of us knows exactly where and what is needed. Then we can each volunteer to take up tasks in our own ways to get the jobs done. We can help each other, we can collaborate, we can support each other and get things done for the greater good. The silver lining that so many of us have alluded to even in this disaster, to the one with brighter future, rests on us all.