This is how you can help in Nepal...
By Di Westaway | Wild Women On Top CEO
Dear Wild Women On Top Community,
We've all watched on in horror over the past week as the true magnitude of the Nepal Earthquake has unfolded before our eyes. After checking on friends and loved ones in the area, including our own Everest Base Camp and Bhutan teams, we've turned our attention to what now? The powerful images and our desire to help when we see them is quickly consumed in the next daily challenge at home… how easily we forget.
We've learned that the damage will last years for most Nepali's particularly the hard-hit rural communities, as most aid is provided in Kathmandu.
Australian Himalayan Foundation director Simon Balderstone said many rural communities in the district of Solu Khumbu, south of Mount Everest, are some of the poorest areas in Nepal and rely on subsistence farming to survive.
Many Wild Women have trekked in these areas. We know the tea houses, the temples, the monastery's, the Sherpa villages. We remember the little babies being bathed by mums in plastic tubs on the side of the road in the midday sun, the monks chanting in their mysterious sanctuaries as we look on in chilly silence, the kids reciting their times tables on wooden benches in dark classrooms and the yaks and porters, a never ending parade carrying all manner of stuff up and down the mountains.
It is this area that is suffering badly.
Wild Woman On Top member, Penny Gerstle's Facebook post captures it brilliantly:
"To all my dear family and friends, thank you so much for the hundreds of messages of concern for Gary and me. We are both well and safe and have just been helicoptered down the Khumbu Valley from near Mt Everest, and are now back in communication. The earthquake hit at 11:30am last Saturday and we were hiking near the old temple of Tenboche. We watched rocks crash down the mountains, walls come falling down, but it was nothing compared to the damage at the temple which we arrived at 2 hours after the quake. Our thoughts are with the beautiful people of Nepal who are suffering enormously. The night after the quake we slept beside the tent of a new widow, as the monks chanted her prayers through the night - so sad, yet so beautiful. We weep for Nepal".
According to Mr Balderstone "There are shortages of food, water, power, communications is down. We are working in conjunction with our partners on the ground who know the area so well and know the communities well enough to know what's most needed."
"There's a lot of aid coming into Kathmandu and obviously with the population there that's very important, but equally important is that we do not forget that this earthquake has had widespread effect and devastation... so there will be a lot of people needing help in the coming months and years."
Nepal Australia Friendship Association secretary Ross Hazelwood said the villages in the Dhading district were at the epicentre of the earthquake and had virtually been flattened. "Landslides have come down and caused considerable amount of damage to villages," Mr Hazelwood said.
We've shared stories and condolences and donated to a charity that's popped up on Facebook, but what can we do now? Well ... we can give generously because these poor people are about to be hit by the monsoon season, characterised by mud slides and wild weather. We can make sure the little kids have shelter, warmth, and food.
If you're in Sydney on Mothers Day and you'd like to embrace our Everest Base Camp team, so courageously led by Director, Lisa Marshall, who was on the Kathmandu tarmac when the earthquake struck, and support the people of Nepal please join us at the Sunset Gathering. And please give generously to the Australian Himalayan Foundation who will ensure that your donation goes straight to those little kids and their families, to ensure they can rebuild and restore their villages to end their suffering and create a brighter future for themselves.