by Dale Dodge, WNC Director
(Appeared as letter-to-the-editor, local media)
World Neighbours Canada (WNC) is a small Non Government Organization (NGO) based in Oliver since 1989. We do basic village development work in Central America, in West Africa and in Nepal. The area we work with in Nepal is called the district of Ramechhap, and has long been one of the poorest districts of Nepal.
There are approximately 45,000 households in Ramechhap, most of which are in small villages of less than 100 people, and most of which live in houses made from stone, with mud mortar. Most of the people are subsistence farmers working on small plots of terraced hillside, and growing corn and lentils.
When the earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, the epicentre was about 60 miles northwest of Ramechhap, but it was large enough that it made unlivable 75% of the 45,000 houses in the district. The mud mortar cracked, and the heavy slate roofs caused the walls to crumble. When the second set of smaller earthquakes hit on May 12, one of them was directly under Ramechhap district, and although weaker, it still was enough to cause about 50% of the remaining houses to become unlivable. Altogether, almost 90% of the houses in Ramechhap were so damaged that they will have to be rebuilt.
WNC does not typically get involved in crisis relief activities or fundraising, but because ‘our’ people were so directly impacted and because our partner NGO in Ramechhap asked for assistance, we put out a plea for funds. People were very generous, partly because they knew that 100% of their donation would get to Nepal – WNC is run by volunteers and has no administration costs – and partly because they knew that our partner in Nepal, Tamakoshi Service Society (TSS), has a long history of honesty and integrity. As of May 25, the deadline for matching funds by the Canadian government, WNC donors had contributed over $45,000 dollars to Nepal Earthquake Relief.
Some of the money has already arrived in Nepal, and has gone to purchase tarpaulins, tents and basic foodstuffs.
On behalf of the World Neighbours Canada board of directors, I would like to thank all of our donors that have dug deep and pitched in to help our friends in Ramechhap.