Sindhupalchok bore the brunt of the casualties with at least 1,500 deaths so far.
When we met Babita Kushwaha four months ago in Sanga Chok of Sindhupalchok, she excitedly showed us around the school that he had been assigned to by Teach for Nepal, the campaign to bring young motivated Nepali youth to volunteer in rural schools.
Her students were all bright and smiling, and looked up to Kushwaha not just as a teacher, but as a friend and mentor. Many of those students died on Saturday when the earthquake destroyed the building they were in.
Sindhupalchok was 120km from the epicentre of the quake, but the district northeast of Kathmandu bore the brunt of the casualties with at least 1,500 deaths so far. The real figure may be double that.
Photo: Shisir Khanal
Another Teach for Nepal fellow, Jigme Sherpa, who worked at the Jana Vikas Secondary School was trying to rescue one of his students from the rubble when he received the news that one of his fellow teachers was killed in a falling building.
“I was devastated by the sight of my friend’s body under the broken house, I cannot believe that he is gone,” Sherpa said. Several of Sherpa’s and Kushwaha’s students were also killed.
Kushwaha teaches at the Nawalpur Secondary School, and said the earthquake flattened the entire village. “Everything is gone, there is nothing left,” she told us.
Teach for Nepal’s founder Shisir Khanal said there had not been any organised rescue and relief. “It is very urgent that we get help in Sindhupalchok,” he said. Teach for Nepal’s other fellow are now headed to Sindhupalchok, not to teach, but to rescue and provide relief. Teach for Nepal has launched a ‘Rebuild Our Communities’ campaign to help in at least 100 areas where it works.
Sherpa is determined to go back as soon as he can, and has been posting messages on Facebook, calling for volunteers. He said: “I don’t want to go back empty-handed. My village needs me.”
Kushwaha told us: “There is nothing I can do except be strong myself. I have to be.”
People interested in donating can do so by sending funds to:
Account Name: Sarvodaya Shramadana Nepal
Acount Address: Kupondole - 1, Lalitpur, Nepal
Bank Name: Sanima Bank
Bank Address; Narayan Chaur, Naxal, Kathmandu
Bank Account Number: 0140000031901
SWIFT Code: SNMANPKA
For international donors, please log onto: http://www.sarvodayausa.org/nepal-earthquake.html (Your donations are tax deductible)
Giving to the living
Shaking things up, Editorial
Langtang is gone, Sahina Shrestha
Monumental loss, Stéphane Huët
Mapping the aftermath, Ayesha Shakya
Microcosm of a calamity, Cynthia Choo and Sonia Awale
Coming out stronger from crisis, Anjana Rajbhandary
Believe it, or not, Tsering Dolker Gurung
A slow start, David Seddon
The earthquake from above, Kunda Dixit
Surviving trauma, Anjana Rajbhandary
In photos: Nepal Earthquake, Bikram Rai
Thanking the Living Goddess for life, Min Ratna Bajracharya
Preparing to be prepared, Kunda Dixit