On Wednesday, May 27, Federation and Jewish Community Foundation hosted a video conference call update with Gideon Herscher on the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) efforts in Nepal..
Gideon and JDC staff have been on the ground in Nepal, helping with strategies for short-term and long-term planning on re-building infrastructure and re-building lives. Gideon shared that JDC has received $1.5 million in donations from the Federation system, collected from Federations across the United States. He said he was extremely moved by how our Jewish communities have mobilized in the face of this devastating natural disaster.
After the magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal on April 25 leaving more than 8,000 people dead, those who survived had begun to pick up the pieces and recover from the trauma. Tragically, after the next big magnitude-7.4 earthquake just days later, many Nepalese people expressed a deep sense of despair and hopelessness. As many as 300,000 people are now living in temporary shelters, because their homes are destroyed or they are too afraid to go back inside the buildings that remain.
JDC has been working to provide trauma counseling too so many Nepalese who are suffering from PTSD, despair, and anxiety. One of these survivors, Pasha, was buried under the rubble with her 2-year old daughter and was suffering from severe PTSD. Thanks to trauma counseling sessions implemented by JDC, she is now moving forward with her life, has the support of other women in her village and together they are learning new job skills. With a 46% unemployment rate in Nepal, there is a big effort to train the women in many basic career skills, and these women are making it their mission to pay it forward and reach out to others in their villages to do the same for them.
JDC disaster response specialist, Mike Attinson, has treated several injuries from people who were trapped under rubble from the earthquakes. The IDF field hospital in Kathmandu also responded immediately and treated many of the survivors. Gideon also shared that what Israel has done for Nepal has been nothing short of miraculous. They have sent ambassadors, medical and emergency personnel, and the work they have done has been critical and lifesaving. The JDC team operating out of Mumbai, India was also immediately on the ground to respond to the first earthquake.
Gideon also spoke about the important partnerships that have been made possible thanks to the generosity of Federation donors and the Jewish Community Foundation. One that stood out was ‘Teach for Nepal’.
Teach for Nepal has made it their mission to visit schools all over the country to counsel children and help them process the trauma of what they have experienced in the devastation of the earthquake. With 20,000 Nepalese children returning to school next Monday, this effort is crucial to helping them cope.
With monsoon season starting in just eight days there is a real sense of urgency in getting the infrastructure underway and making sure everyone has adequate shelter. JDC is building shelters, made using bamboo and tin roofs, that will stand up well to the monsoons. There remains so much work, construction, and counseling to be done. Any gift amount can help rebuild a family’s home, restore hope, and change a life.. You can help. You are that good in the world. Click here to make a donation today
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