Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Swarthmore for Nepal, a group founded by students from Nepal, has started a clothing drive and a fundraising campaign to help relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in Nepal on Saturday. The group will also host a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, April 28 at 8 pm on Parrish Porch.
“The clothing drive initially was a panic induced idea because in the aftermath [of the earthquake] I didn’t really know what the strategy to go about it would be,” said Abha Lai ‘18, a member of Swarthmore for Nepal. “The clothing drive seemed like something that would be useful because people are more likely to donate clothes than money.”
However, the idea of the clothing drive evolved as the group spoke with community members. While clothes will be useful for those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, Lai explained, food and water is currently the priority.
“We realized that sending clothes in right now might not be the most productive form of aid […] so we’ve modified it a little bit and we’re going to store the clothes here and wait until right before the summer and send it to Nepal,” said Lai.
In addition to the clothing drive, Swarthmore for Nepal is also working on raising money for aid in Nepal. Donation boxes for cash donations will be set up throughout campus, in addition to an online donation campaign. The money raised will go to the organization Nepal Ko Yuwa, a non-profit organization that is building a cohort of young leaders in Nepal. The organization also provides aid to communities outside of Kathmandu.
“They are organizers working in the ground in rural areas,” said Rajnish Yadav ‘18, a member of Swarthmore for Nepal. “These are the people that we know and that we trust and that we know how they will spend the money.”
In addition, the members of Swarthmore for Nepal felt that Nepal Ko Yuwa would focus aid in rural areas in a way that other aid organizations may not.
“Kathmandu is the capital and that is where the international airport is,” said Lai. “All the aid that is from international organizations ends up being concentrated in that area and areas that are harder to reach are not getting funding at all “
Nepal has the international community’s immediate attention. They will continue to need aid in the coming months and years. “We really hope that Swarthmore continues to sustain interest and help in any way they can for a long time,” said Lai.
Lai and Yadav urged students to encourage others to donate to help people affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and to always check to make sure the donation you are giving is through a reliable source.
“The Swarthmore community has been very helpful,” said Yadav. “Everybody has been asking us if they can help us in any way. […] The more the number of people that know about this and about the magnitude of this crisis and can help in any way possible is greatly appreciated.”
The candlelight vigil will take place on Wednesday at 8 pm. To donate to Nepal Ko Yuwa, click here.