Rajat Dhariwalhas successfully raised funds & reached the goal amount. We thank all the 193 generous supporters for their kindness.
Devastated country needs help #1000families
Devastated country needs help #1000families
Call for duty
A massive earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on Richter scale (as per USGS) struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. I saw a drone video about Nepal earthquake on Friday and suddenly felt a 'calling' to come here and here I am in Nepal
Here is where you can make a difference. The plan is to help 1000 families in Kirtipur's 19 wards and few other areas who have lost their homes!
So the plan is to raise funds via Ketto, buy supplies in Delhi & pass to Delhi Goonj office who will send it via truck to Nepal. It will get picked up by the Nepal based NGO Nepa: Gyration who has trained volunteers to take this material to the 1000 families in 19 wards and help the families pitch the tents.
Here's how you can help
Don’t ‘Land and Figure out’, please ‘Figure out and Land’
I am Rajat Dhariwal and I have been running my start-up MadRat Games for the last 5 years in Bangalore, India. I saw a drone video about Nepal earthquake on Friday morning and suddenly felt a ‘calling’ to go there (might as well turn out to be some past life Brian Weiss thing!). Frantically, I researched everything I could and found links like this asking people not to go, unless they have medical or past rescue experience. I certainly didn’t want to become a burden but what I now understand is that those who want to help should get in touch with a NGO who is looking for help. Don’t try to ‘land n figure out’. I contacted a few NGOs but they weren’t looking for volunteers but supplies. I didn’t want to contact the big NGOs as they have or will get support. I started getting in touch with local Nepal NGOs who I could help with organizing efforts / fund raising. Found one such called ‘NEPA: GYRATION’, grabbed 6 tents n few sleeping bags Sat night @ Decathlon and Sunday noon I was in Nepal.
Nothing will change if I dont go, but boy what could change if I do go!
Ofcourse if I didn’t go, nothing would change in my life but what made me go was thinking what all could change! Both for me and for the families I’d be able to help. I wanted to understand what is my relation with these people .. as I wasn’t sure what more I had done than them, to not deserve this.
I researched as much as I could before leaving but since I was leaving in a rush, there was a nagging worry if I missed anything. Deep within though, I knew it wasn’t what I didn’t know but what I did know, that was scaring me ... danger of fresh tremors & epidemic ... rumors of Kathmandu airport being blocked ... media reports of the horrible sights & smells! But I wondered why my life was more precious than theirs? In the end what I was most scared was of not being able to get those tents to Nepal and not being able to help out.
Landing in Nepal
Like me, I am sure there are lot of people who wanted to help but are not sure who or how to help. Media reports say enough supplies have reached or enough people are there, so is any more needed? Absolutely. Supplies such as Mayonaisse n Tuna which have come from some countries are piling up at Airport & are not useful. Understanding ground reality is important – mere good intentions are not.
So, why did I decide to come in person? Couldn’t I have worked with a NGO and given funds? I wanted to conduct an ‘Audit’ (inspection / due diligence) of sorts to figure out the real situation, identify genuine NGOs and what help is needed the most. Here is what I have found :
The thing that is needed most direly is Tents. Nepal is out of them so we have to import from India. We are buying these in Delhi and coordinating with Goonj NGO to send to Nepal. Diarrhea and Common cold are rampant but their remedies are available locally.
One of my friends, Rajesh from Rishi Valley days also joined in today with some more tents. Its been an year since I’ve been trying to get him to visit us in Bangalore from Hyderabad, but all it took to get him to Nepal was a message “Want to go to Nepal? To help quake victims” .. his reply “Have a plan or want to land & figure out?” .. I knew he was in!
Nepa Gyration - About the NGO I am working with
They are a young and highly motivated group. They are trained to help disaster relief victims and ironically they themselves have become quake victims now. I am staying in the camp put outside their house (which has been destroyed). Their honesty in testing times was amazing – they didn’t use the tents I got, even for their own family or community, as they said there are much worse affected communities who could use these. Their sense of accountability and style of working makes me wonder at their age. I took a face mask as we were going for dinner and they stopped to record it in their register first. Decision making is data driven - a detailed name list and survey is done before giving even one packet of supplies, to ensure it goes to the actual needy ones and those who haven’t got help from elsewhere already.
The relief camp set up outside Nepa Gyration office.
The destroyed home of Rubin, who is conducting relief efforts in Ward 16
I discovered the true power of technology if put to right use today. I got contacts of locals in Nepal via Facebook message. I started fundraising campaign on Ketto through a call to Varun (Founder, Ketto), emailed the MadRat team to help put up the campaign and via call / email coordinated with Anshu at Goonj to figure logistics of sending supplies from India, bought laptop / scooty / mobile for the NGO via whats app... all in a day!
To help 1000 families in Kirtipur 19 wards and few other areas, who have lost their homes.
So in short the plan is to raise funds via Ketto, buy supplies in Delhi & pass to Delhi Goonj office who will send it via truck to Nepal. It will get picked up by the Nepal based NGO Nepa: Gyration who has trained volunteers to take this material to the 1000 families in 19 wards and help the families pitch the tents.
Whatever you have saved money for – this is more important. When else would you get a chance to actually save thousands of lives? The funds are needed immediately – time is as critical as money.
Here is how you can help :
We have worked out the first draft of the use of funds below.
There’s a lot of stuff I’ve still to figure out and so don’t have time to add any more details. Hope this suffices – for any queries email email@example.com with a CC to firstname.lastname@example.org & prefix the Subject with “#1000Families” (plz refrain from sending anything you don’t *really* need to send, including praising / sympathy msgs .. that time will come but its not now).
For those who are keen on reading more about Nepal, here it is. People mostly live in joint families. Got a chance to eat food cooked by the universal evercaring, overfeeding mother.... even in earthquake!
Experienced Bollywood music all over ... in the bus ... in shops. Strangely when I asked where to send courier with supplies from India – I found out there is no concept of an Address here. They pick up international courier from airport and local ones from bus stations! How we take it for granted in India? Contrasting to this lack of infrastructure, was the proliferation of smartphones & Internet, whats app n facebook (the Dog’s name in the camp in which I stayed was Facebook!). To figure out how to put up the tents I had brought , they quickly opened Youtube on their mobile and pitched the tent!
We have started recieving goods from Goonj, the NGO who is supporting us with logistics.
We did an audit at Godamchaur and found more than a 100 families whose homes were lost.
Volunteer training is done! We are ready to start putting up shelters from tomorrow.
Second lot of supplies has reached. We collected all the supplies from Goonj trucks, trained the volunteers and made family packets ready to be distributed. Our first Distribution Camp was a success!
Making the family packets ready for distribution.
Talking to the local families and handing out relief material.
Vinay, from Madrat Games, joined us in Godamchuar area to distribute relief material!
Aarohi has taken up charge in Nepal to organise and help distribute material to people in Nepal.
Kunal Kapoor, the beloved actor from Bollywood has taken interest in our efforts in Nepal.