On the 25th April 2015, a series of dramatic earthquakes struck Nepal and caused widespread destruction. Although the entire Nepalese nation suffered from the loss of life, property, and security during such a traumatic event, in Mustang (the remote Northeast region of Nepal) no one was injured. Nonetheless, three villages in Mustang were badly damaged, including one village named Ghiling. Out of the sixty-four households which comprised the village, forty houses were reduced to rubble and the local monastery and also part of the school building needed significant repairs. With most of this small village demolished, the families and their children were left to sleep outside with no shelter in the 25 degree Fahrenheit weather, alone amidst the mountains towering around them at 11,500 feet.
Because Ghiling is so remote, the impact of the earthquake was felt acutely. The families of this village survive mainly on subsistence farming and raising Pashmina goats. There are no Western medical facilities available to the people of this village; they rely on the knowledge of one doctor of traditional Tibetan medicine for their healthcare needs. The small school functions as a boarding school for villages even more remote and boasts nearly one hundred students and staff combined. The local Buddhist monastery is one of the oldest in Nepal, and yet the residents remain largely isolated from the rest of the country.
There was little hope that the families of Ghiling would be remembered in their distress by their own countrymen and even less by the international aid community. As the families of this remote village looked toward a future that made an already harsh winter seem bleaker still, ethnic Tibetan students in New York City rose to the challenge of raising support to aid Ghiling specifically. NY Tibetan Service Center’s SONYC middle school after school students and two siblings from Bronxville, NY began their efforts to supply funds to help rebuild the school and provide the children, their counterparts in another country, with a sense of security which had been shaken out from under them.
NY Tibetan Service Center students held a multi-day sidewalk fundraiser, in which they sold Tibetan and Himalayan goods donated by their family members and friends (many of them who were from Nepal). All of the proceeds from that event went to support the students of Ghiling. Tentse Dolma and Tashi Dhargyal, went to their local school in Bronxville and raised funds from the school body there. These funds, along with others who donated through Yulha Fund, provided tents for the students to sleep in while their school and homes were being rebuilt. In addition, from the money that was raised, the students of Ghiling enjoyed an elaborate picnic, which worked to refresh their tired spirits.
From New York, a massive metropolis, to Ghiling a humble village, students supported students, reflecting the marvelous way that our world can be connected for the benefit of those in distress. Hospitality and care stretched around the world, restoring hope and homes from children to children.