Fresh back from Nepal and radio where I discussed my trip to Nepal with Nicole Dyer from ABC Radio.
“What can people do if they want to help?” she asked off air.
There are several ways:
1. Go and visit the country first hand
I think sometimes we pile up reasons (excuses) as to why we can’t do something as apposed to why we can and why we should. The other great obstacle is doing something different to your friends which will often generate the old “what will people think” question.
I truly think traveling is accessible to all people – they just need to be creative. Have the idea first, get some quotes and then book the trip. Don’t book it too far out, make it in the next 3 months. That way you will be forced to save and it will create lots of excitement for you.
Regarding what other people may think, I also believe that majority are in admiration of those who take themselves outside of their comfort zones, especially to travel to a third world country to help.
If you want to go with a tour group to Nepal, I went with this lady. Low key, very much about helping people and much of the tour costs go towards the healthcare of locals in and around Kathmandu.
2. Support people traveling there for relief work
If you can’t go, (time, money, desire) then consider sponsoring or supporting someone who is traveling there. For example, I am planning on going back next year in April (2014) to make a documentary on women and children in a third world country. I will be taking a film man, a producer/director and will have a guide on the ground. The documentary will cost at least $20,000AUD to make and I will need to raise that money first. I would be rapt is you did wish to sponsor the documentary (I will probably make 3 x 30 minute series to sell to BBC and SBS for fundraising for the Children’s Hospital). If you are interested contact me.
3. Support people directly on the ground.
While I was there I met an amazing hero/angel called Shree. There are many other locals who mingle with Westerners and are helping to connect them with locals in need.
I met a girl Eurusa, who is 5 years old who will only be able to attend school if she is sponsored as her father was disabled earlier this year. Seeing as there is no pension they will be looking around for small jobs simply to pay for food. I have agreed to pay the $20 AUD per month so this little girl can go to school. In the future it is highly likely she will support her parents.
There is a nurse I know in Kathmandu who is from a village. She needs $800 in order to complete her nursing and is stressed that she will not be able to find the funds and will have to withdraw. Women like Saru make a difference as they use their local skills to help locals.
I also discovered that many young Nepalese wish to travel to USA and Australia thinking our standard of living is better (due to perceived greater wealth) not realising that living here costs a lot of money. Many return with partial skills or don’t return at all.
Nepal needs to start bridging the gap in female services and employment. Jobs such as accounting, nursing, public relations and health are lacking in Nepal. If you wish to sponsor or give a small contribution these are a special bank account just for her: BSB 193879 and account number 447950926 Account name Saru sponsor account.
4. Give to an organisation
I have been setting up relief projects, contributing to those in need my whole life ( on a small scale). One thing I have learned is that sometimes donated goods to larger organisations gets consumed by the organisation (people are often shocked to hear that from their $1 donation, only 15 cents makes it to the recipient. Admin costs, marketing, TV ads etc make large charities TOP heavy and funds dwindle).
I have preferred to go direct.
I travel around the world and will ask the local concierge or taxi driver to take me to the nearest orphanage. This way I meet the people running the facility, meet the children and can give the money and funds directly to the group. This cuts out the middle man, cuts out lost money on marketing/admin and also means you are more connected with the cause (ie you get involved with the allocation of the money).
Last year I went to an orphanage (Mercy House) near Hui Hin in Thailand. I have helped them purchase a block of land over the last 16 months and now they kids are growing their own vegetables and have become more self sufficient.
Can you get involved?
You sure can!
I urge you to give some money/some time/some love.
You will be rewarded multiple times as the act of giving is a truly remarkable energy and will definitely put a smile on your dial. Namaste.
PS: If you want to visit Nepal go with Anne. Great Fun and a brilliant way to give back.