Visit Nepal. Support local businesses to earn and to rebuild the communities
Pushpa Basnet, who was named CNN Hero Of The Year in 2012, wants you to know it’s safe to visit Nepal again. Quoting Basnet in TODAY, “Things are back to normal. The streets are fine and we’re very happy to see travellers coming back because it means a lot to Nepalese.” Not only that, Basnet encouraged you to book a homestay where the money will go directly to the families and go to cafes with youth programmes that help train them for jobs. And while you are visiting Nepal, do take pictures and share with your friends, showing them it is safe to visit.
Quoting Robin Low, who runs a relief organisation, and spent a month in Nepal last month (Tourists, post-quake Nepal needs you‘, 15 July 2015):
… the safari and state parks are not affected by the earthquake. Out of hundreds of trekking trails, only one near the Everest base camp is closed due to the avalanche.
Among the Unesco world heritage sites, Patan Durbar Square was slightly damaged but still open. The Bhumsen Tower in Dharahara was the only one that was destroyed.
The wildlife reserve, mountain ranges and other popular tourist destinations like Pokhara were unaffected by the twin quakes.
In Pokhara, there was no damage to the caves, hotels, lakes and temples. The view of Annapurna was spectacular. When I spoke to hotel and restaurant owners, many said the disaster did not cause any physical damage, but the lack of tourists in the region is now causing economic disaster.
In fact, information from a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office revealed that out of the 14 districts which were badly affected by the earthquake, none of them were tourist destinations; however, the lack of tourists in the region is now causing economic disaster.
Robin is urging you to show solidarity by visiting Nepal now; you are not only getting a cheap holiday in a beautiful country but are also giving business owners and employees the much-needed money to rebuild. And why did he think it is safe to visit Nepal? In his three weeks in Nepal, he felt only one three-second-long aftershock. Quoting Robin, “Supporting local businesses in Nepal allows the owners and employees to earn a living to send money back to the communities that were damaged.
However, if you couldn’t visit Nepal, there is another way to help. Basnet is currently in Singapore to help promote her documentary, Waiting For Mamu, which will be screened at The Projector today (23 July 2015 at 2000 hrs). The proceeds from the tickets go to fund her new centre.
According to TODAY, “The 2013 documentary, which counts film-maker Morgan Spurlock and Hollywood star Susan Sarandon as executive producers, has helped raise funds for the building of The Butterfly Home. But disaster struck this April with the quake.”
In the interview with TODAY, Basnet said, “Sixty per cent of our house was destroyed by the Nepal quake — we had to sleep in the fields outside, in a greenhouse, without even a tin roof.” However, the resilient 30-year-old was just glad that it wasn’t completed yet when the quake happened and none of their kids were there. She said, “What are you going to do? It was a natural disaster … We built it once, we’ll build it again.”
If you can make time to help, Basnet is open to the idea of voluntourism, but maintains that the volunteers need to stay for at least three months to make a difference and for stability in the lives’ of the kids who have trust issues. Those who’re interested to help can also visit the film’s Facebook page to get in touch with Morgan or Basnet.
So if you can, instead of donations, consider visiting Nepal to experience its beautiful nature and culture. Or simply catch Waiting for Mamu tonight at The Projector today (23 July 2015 at 2000 hrs). You can also consider making a donation to rebuild Butterfly Home in Nepal at: Gofundme
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