When disaster strikes it usually makes headlines for 24 hours before disappearing into the ether of “old news”. It was only four months ago that the devastating earthquakes struck Nepal and the Himalayas region killing 9,000 people and displacing more than 450,000 from their homes. These are staggering numbers, and yet, it’s easy to forget when we on Maui are so physically removed from these calamities. So in case you were wondering about the ongoing relief efforts and what you can do to help, this blog is for you. A couple weeks after Nepal’s 8.1 magnitude quake, a past web-designer for Trilogy, Mitch Silver from Kula, asked for Trilogy’s help to fund a nonprofit that provides immediate food supply, medical relief and rebuilding efforts in Nepal, called #WeHelpNepal. We jumped at the opportunity, hosting a special Captains Sunset Dinner Sail fundraiser on May 22nd.
Mitch Silver is a Maui resident from Kula and longtime colleague of Randy Coon (Trilogy’s co-founder) who has a rich 40-year history of working in rural Nepal and was actually there at the time of the disaster. He joined the nonprofit #WeHelpNepal, because of its transparency in how they distribute aid and the legitimacy of its management who come with knowledge, resources, and skills, all united by a mutual love for Nepal. The funds donated to this group support immediate earthquake relief and rebuilding efforts rooted in a philosophy of relief to self-reliance, disaster to sustainable development. For Trilogy, it was an opportunity to give back to the global community through a personal connection and trusted colleague.
Trilogy provided a catamaran and crew as a platform to raise funds via our popular Captains Sunset Dinner Sail. Guests were even treated to music played by Trilogy’s co-founder Randy Coon’s band, “The Haiku Hillbillys”!
The evening’s VIP dinner sail raised $3127.70 tax-deductible donation to #WeHelpNepal.
The funds raised were graciously and gratefully received. Some of the funds raised were used to purchase solar lighting and distribute these lights to villages with no electricity. These lights are able to light a room, charge cell phones allowing users to be prepared for medical emergencies and relief contact, and are portable. In addition to the lighting project, Mitch went to more than a dozen remote villages that were completely destroyed by the earthquake to ascertain what, if any, aid had been received. He went back to purchase and deliver 12,000 pounds of food supplies to these villagers. Mitch is soon returning to Nepal in September 2015 to continue in his earthquake relief work.
Captain turned Physician’s Assistant:
Meanwhile, our own Captain Jason had already made time- off plans to travel to Nepal when the earthquake struck. He realized that with his EMT medical training, he would be able to provide much needed help in rural, less accessible areas of the country. He made plans to provide aid in the western border of Nepal from May 28th to July 5th, with Himalayan Cataract Project – learn more at cureblindness.org.
Jason’s friend is one of the co- founders of this nonprofit, that does cataract surgeries both in hospitals and also goes to remote villages by bus to provide cataract surgeries free of charge. Captain Jason assisted ophthalmic procedures, and learned quickly to make do communicating with patients who only spoke Nepalese.
During his time in Nepal, Jason observed that many well-meant donations were only given to easily accessible areas and that remote villages in the mountains were not receiving the relief supplies they desperately needed. The Nepali government eventually took over dispensing relief supplies from central warehouses, but aid was still not evenly dispersed. The Himalayan Cataract Project actually had to drive hours in to Kathmandu- to pick up needed aid supplies. During his time volunteering, he learned the importance of choosing a vetted, well reviewed non-profit with which to donate your time or money.
How to Help:
We are all part of one body. Each person has unique skill sets, resources, passions, and abilities to help one another. When we work together, we can make a bigger difference collectively than on our own. For Nepal, the long term effects are still being seen from this quake; the demand far outweighs the current relief work and supplies being provided. In a world where there is an oversaturation of information happening 24/7, it’s important to remember that hundreds of thousands of people in Nepal are still homeless and in need from this terrible catastrophe. Nepal will continue to feel the effects of this disaster for years to come. If you are considering a way to be a part of the relief effort in Nepal, research what charity to donate to. Sites like Charity Navigator, rank nonprofits by the percentage of each dollar donated that goes to direct aid (we call this transparency).
Trilogy always supports our local nonprofits and vetted community initiatives first, though when given the opportunity to help on a larger global scale, we felt it Pono to take action. Small or large, help is help, and it makes a profound difference here on our island home or across the sea.