It has been 3 months since Nepal was hit by a massive and violent earthquake (7.8 on the Richter scale), that was the worst in several generations. It was the first of hundreds of shocks.
Within days of the first earthquake, we began a fundraising campaign to assist our "J4J Team" and their families in Nepal. With the generous support from many of you, and especially the folks at Deep Cove Outdoors, we raised an incredible $22,000 within 2 months.
Your Jacket Company
When we started this project a few years ago we had no idea that a 100-jacket order and an article written by the North Shore News about our goal of funding kids to go to school would lead to jackets being made in 140 colours, 4 styles, 6 sizes and a charitable business going strong 3 years later. We never intended that Liz would leave her regular job to run this nor that hundreds of kind people would buy (and love) their jackets.
We also never thought that in the face of a huge disaster occurring halfway around the world, we would adapt to become a humanitarian organization funded by donations from the many kind people who support what we do. But out of necessity comes change.
We want to share with you how we've used the money to help in Nepal - not just Jasper and Resmi's families, not just the factory workers and their families, but entire villages!
Thanks for being with us in this literally life-changing company we have become. Together we have all made a difference. You are the best!
Now, the Good News and Photos
Let us share with you some of the heart-warming photos of some of the families that you have assisted. To our surprise, Rajan, our manufacturer, traveled to many of the homes that you supported and took pictures with a sign that he created. To all of you who contributed to our earthquake relief fund, you should feel proud of what you have done!
We have spent many, many evenings with the help of some wonderful Vancouver-based Nepali-speaking volunteers (thank you Binod, Ujala and Jason!!!) trying to phone people in Nepal (hard to speak with someone that cannot charge their Nepali cell phone because they are living in a tent…). We needed to understand their challenges and needs and then co-ordinate the sending of funds or delivery of Nepali-purchased goods. In every case, we were the first "organization" to provide assistance to people impacted by the earthquake.
Everyone we know in Nepal is now safely housed in metal and bamboo shelters that will see them through the rainy and windy monsoon season, and quite possibly for years to come.
To date, some of the key areas your donated funds have been used includes the following:
• Immediate payment of ~3 weeks wages to all 7 of Rajan's factory workers while they were unable to earn income in the aftermath of the earthquake.
• Purchase and delivery of 2,500 kg of rice, lentils, oil, salt, bottled water and blankets to our shipper's employees' damaged villages around KTM valley.
• Provided funds to supply and transport food and emergency supplies for 18 people for a month, before the Nepali government could get to Resmi's family's village of Khanigaau to deliver aid.
• Recharged everyone's mobile phone card minutes immediately and (still) regularly as everyone was burning through their minutes coordinating and checking in with family and friends.
• Purchase of materials and the hiring of contractors to rebuild 8 new monsoon-proof homes for 4 of Rajan's employees (2 pictured above and another in the upper left circle) from the KTM valley area, Rajan's mother-in-law (very bottom of post), Rajan's auntie (below) and his 2 sisters.
• Purchased and delivered corrugated sheet metal for the entire village of Keraghare, Rajan's sister's village, to rebuild 45 roofs that were lost in the earthquake (45 out of 50 were ruined in the 'quakes).
• Purchase and delivery of corrugated sheet metal and wood and bamboo to build 2 shelters for 18 people each for Resmi’s family and extended families in the village of Khanigaau.
•Provided emergency supplies (clothing and cooking needs) and rental money to Jasper’s family who had to leave their rented room and all their belongings.
• Purchased corrugated metal sheeting for all 11 homes, and clothes and food for 2 homes in the village of Katunje (Rajan's home village).
• Funded the materials and construction help to build Jasper’s new home in Kirtipur (we're hoping to see our first photos next week thanks to a visit by a Canadian and a tour-guide operator we know).
• Provided funds for building materials to our first 2011 Nepali guide, Umesh Paneru, a new father of a 4-month-old, to build houses for his family, his sister's family and his parents. They live near Ghorka, the first earthquake's epicenter.
• Provided funds for building materials for our friend Pramila to build herself and her friend Shanta (and their 4 goats) a temporary shelter in Nagarkot, and contributed to a successful fundraising campaign that will allow her to rebuild a home for hosting guests (her livelihood) after the monsoon.
• Provided funds for building materials for Shanta's parents and brother in Dhading to build a new home.
The first month after the earthquake was extremely hard. The building Jasper and his family lived in became completely unsafe (a room on the apartment's 3rd floor) and they were forced to evacuate without taking any of their possessions and were not permitted to return.
After living on the street in Kathmandu and being completely unable to rent another room for love or money (both of which we had been able to provide in abundance), they moved with many other acquaintances to a tent on a field on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Communication was very difficult during this time.
It turns out that many years ago, Jasper's father, Kamal, had wisely spent some of his guiding tips on a small plot of land outside the city. Unable to rent in the city, we were able to co-ordinate the purchase of building supplies so that they could build a 1 room place. This one room house accommodates 6 people.
And Kamal's top priority of Jasper being in school (even though he is only 3!) means that Jasper is now back in the routine of going to nursery school every day where he can play safely with other children. (This family does not have the technological capabilities to send us any photos).
After several months of nation-wide school closures, Resmi is back at her boarding school on the outskirts of Kathmandu, safe and happy.
Her grandparents', parents' and extended families' 3 beautiful, traditional homes in a row in the village of Khanigaau were all heavily damaged and are now unliveable. We have provided funding for the purchase of wood, bamboo, corrugated sheet metal and transportation, and reconstruction is beginning amid the planting and harvesting of crops.
With your help, every person that is linked in any way to Jackets for Jasper in Nepal is now safely housed again since the devastating earthquakes.