Foundation’s bake sale raises funds to benefit locals affected by earthquake
Various UCSB students and campus organization members have collaborated to raise monetary donations through on-campus fundraisers this past week to provide relief support for the victims of the recent Nepal earthquake.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck near Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu on April 25, killing 7,500 and leaving thousands more injured and without aid. UCSB organizations, including the Indian dance group Dhadkan and the American Red Cross, as well as various individual students launched fundraisers to raise money for Nepal relief charities.
Second-year physics major Shekhar Paudel said he identifies as Nepalese-American and has family who survived the earthquake. According to Paudel, the media has primarily reported on damages in Kathmandu, but little in rural villages.
“A lot of remote places have not received a lot of aid,” Paudel said. “News coverage and social media has not been covering the damages in many rural areas.”
We can’t rely on the government, not because they’re bad but because they don’t have the capacity to do much. – Second-year physics major Shekhar Paudel
Paudel said he began fundraising through a Nepal earthquake relief fund called the Shikshya Foundation because he believes the Nepalese government lacks the resources to help more rural populations.
“We can’t rely on the government, not because they’re bad but because they don’t have the capacity to do much,” Paudel said. “The people themselves can’t do much either, so everyone outside has to do something. Most of us cannot go back, so the least we can do is help the people and charities there who are already there trying to do something.”
According to Paudel, the high death toll only shows quantitative data and does not describe the “chaotic conditions” survivors face in Nepal, including destroyed homes, aftershocks and missing or trapped survivors.
“What my friends have been telling me is that in small villages far away people have not been able to do much, so people are still buried, and buses and cars are still covered in debris,” Paudel said. “People have also lost their homes, but many don’t want to stay and rebuild because of fear of aftershocks. So many people have been displaced.”
Catherine Mottram, UCSB Fulbright Scholar and Earth Science researcher with a focus on plate collision zones such as the Himalayas, said many areas are experiencing aftershocks that are half as powerful as the initial quake.
“So much damage was caused because the epicenter was so close to the surface,” Mottram said. “So there’s loads and loads of areas around the epicenter where people may not know about.”
Mottram said she raised $300 through bake sale fundraisers and is in the process of determining which organization to donate the funds to that would benefit the locals in Nepal.
“People donated cakes and other baked goods which we sold,” Mottram said. “I’m looking at donating to a charity that works with more local people around Nepal, but I haven’t decided yet.”
American Red Cross social media chair and fourth-year cell and developmental biology major Terry La said the American Red Cross held a successful bake sale at the UCen last week to benefit Nepal, and she believes even little contributions will have a strong effect on those in need.
“We were hoping to sell out, which we did,” La said. “We actually fundraised more money because there were people who just made donations to the bake sale. It’s the small things we do that can really make an impact on others.”
An earthquake of 7.8 would be devastating anywhere in the world, even in places like the Bay Area or Los Angeles. For it to happen somewhere the infrastructure is of lesser quality than other places means they need aid more than anyone else. – Dhadkan president Soham Tikekar
Dhadkan president and third-year biology and economics double-major Soham Tikekar said a 7.8 magnitude earthquake is especially damaging in a country with poor infrastructure, such as Nepal.
“An earthquake of 7.8 would be devastating anywhere in the world, even in places like the Bay Area or Los Angeles,” Tikekar said. “For it to happen somewhere the infrastructure is of lesser quality than other places means they need aid more than anyone else.”
Tikekar said Dhadkan donated $200 to the International Medical Corps to help rebuild Nepal.
“The immediate need for relief was what brought our board to decide on it, and we went with IMC because of Facebook’s commitment to match the donation,” Tikekar said.
Paudel said he wants students to realize they have the power to help Nepal with any amount of donation.
“I know a lot of people care and are aware, but they might feel powerless in trying to do something,” Paudel said. “We want people to know that there is something people can do for those who are suffering. Even if you can donate a dollar it can feed people for a day.”
According to Paudel, relief must be provided through long term solutions because it will take time for Nepal to recover from the disaster.
“People will continuously need support until they can get back on their feet and start to make a living again,” Paudel said. “So they need help from people who will be active, get up on their feet, and do something to make a difference.”
A version of this story appeared in the May 7, 2015 issue of the Daily Nexus.