Aid for Nepal

Fundraising efforts around Lantau began as soon as the news broke of the earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25.

Relief efforts were stepped up after tragedy struck a second time on May 12. Here’s a shout-out to just a few of those in the community who got involved

The recent scenes of devastation in Nepal, following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25 and the 7.3-magnitude quake on May 12, have reminded us once again of the fragility of life and the destructive power of Mother Nature. Upwards of 8,500 people lost their lives in the first quake, and at least 100 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured on May 12.

Both earthquakes struck at a depth of 15 kilometres – and shallow tremors like these cause the most damage at the surface. The outcome has been truly catastrophic, with thousands of homes and schools, and even whole villages completely destroyed.

On May 12, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala called for “courage and patience” and urged all those who had assisted Nepal since the April 25 earthquake “to once again extend your helping hand”.

Reaching out

Lantau residents’ response to the tragedy has been nothing short of inspiring, with people donating money, time, clothing, bedding, and even candles, to help those in need. There’s no doubt about it, the generosity of our community has shown the depth of humanity that shines in times of tragedy.

Just hours after the first earthquake hit, Tung Chung resident and supervisor at Discovery Mind Kindergarten, Kabeeta Gurung put out a request through social media for donations. Almost immediately, she started receiving donations of clothes, medical items, candles, torches and dry foods, as well as much-needed funds.

“The local community has been amazing, with everyone pulling together to help those affected,” Kabeeta says.

Kabeeta has recently returned from Nepal, where she helped with the distribution of food, blankets, tents, torches, corrugated iron and floor matting, all of which she purchased with the monetary donations received from the Tung Chung community. Funds raised totalled approximately HK$150,000.

AID Nepal

Call to action

As the CEO of local charity Child Welfare Scheme, Pui O resident Zein Williams has been involved with the people of Nepal for many years. Since April 25, the Child Welfare Scheme has raised over HK$2 million to support the devastated communities of Nepal. Working with the Nepali government to ensure aid is properly distributed and well managed, the charity is involved in providing both immediate and lasting relief. Long-term projects are focused on the rebuilding of homes, schools, health posts and water supplies.

When news of the first earthquake hit, Zein’s children, Bella, seven, Zoe, four, and Skye, one, took the lead from Mum and decided to set up a stand selling bottles of cold water outside their house in Ham Tin. Their efforts raised HK$800.

The following weekend other families in the village joined in the fundraising efforts, by selling soft drinks and barbecued food. Together the Ham Tin community raised HK$13,500.

On May 3, a pot-luck picnic organised by Tung Chung resident Tess Auditor and the Tung Chung Rugby Club also saw members of the community come together for the cause. Over HK$16,000 was raised at the picnic in Tung Chung North Park, and donations of clothing and supplies were collected.

Student support

The hardship faced by so many Nepali children in the aftermath of the earthquakes has inspired schools across Lantau to do what they can to help.

Discovery Mind Primary School in Tung Chung, along with its sister school in Discovery Bay, had a dress-down day to raise funds for Nepal, amounting to HK$5,000 in relief aid. The whole school joined together later in May for a school disco in Discovery Bay, that raised an additional HK$1,300. This money, along with donations raised at Discovery Mind Kindergarten, will go towards the rebuilding of a school in one of the worst affected villages.

Likewise, the YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College in Tung Chung worked on various fundraising events in May. There was a casual dress day, with a dress code of red, blue and white, along with a bake sale consisting of Nepalese cuisine. Students also created a message board to show their support, and took part in a Nepal Relief Concert. They raised a total of HK$23,540.

In Tai O, students at Buddhist Fat Ho Memorial College played their part in the fundraising efforts. Students and teachers set up food counters and collected almost 1,000 articles for charity sales. In addition, the children made blessing cards to raise funds. The school raised over HK$8,000.

Over in Tong Fuk, Lantau International School students have also been busy, raising funds and gathering donations of clothing and other much-needed supplies.

Ways to donate

• Child Welfare Scheme, visit www.cwshk.org

• Kabeeta Gurung Facebook page

Readers are also advised to look to the Life On Lantau and Around DB Facebook pages this month to see who’s doing what locally to help the people of Nepal. Now’s the time to get involved.