When the first earthquake rocked Nepal, millions of Canadians were heartbroken by what they witnessed on their screens. It seemed nearly impossible to believe that such a poor, tiny, gentle country could sustain such cruel loss of life and livelihood. Then this week, a second earthquake reopened a wound of sympathy that for many people had barely started to heal. Here in Canada, many people have been unable to get Nepal and its people out of their minds.
"I'm not sure why this particular crisis and these particular people have grabbed my heart in a way that is so deeply personal for me," says Duke Vipperman, a pastor at the Church of the Resurrection in Toronto. He wonders whether meeting some Nepali youth in the community just a day after the first earthquake has opened his eyes to the personal face of disaster. "It's such an extreme crisis that's on their people back in Nepal."
For three weeks now, the church has prayed for Nepal and its people -- both overseas, and here in Canada. "The Nepali youth have visited our church, teaching us a beautiful way to pray with candles floating in water," says Vipperman. "And our church's gift to its moms on Mother's Day was a donation to World Vision Canada, on behalf of mothers in Nepal."
Now, Duke Vipperman is searching for the next way to help the people of Nepal. He knows that other news stories will soon push Nepal to the periphery for even the most caring Canadians. He's acutely aware of the young Nepali Canadians he met, for whom the earthquake will continue to have an impact for many years to come. Vipperman is looking for ways to keep people focused on helping the people of Nepal as they struggle to their feet.
Here are five suggestions for ways to raise funds for the Nepal relief effort:
- Host a Nepali meal: Many Nepali dishes are extremely simple to prepare, with basic ingredients such as rice, lentils and vegetables. Click here for recipes and download a little Nepali music for ambience. Alternatively, many Canadian cities and towns have Nepali restaurants, where you could meet for lunch or dinner. Request a small donation for one of the charities raising funds for the Nepal recovery effort.
- Hold a music night: It doesn't have to be a major national fundraiser like Live Aid or Canada for Haiti to make a difference! It could be a few amateur musicians, including children, in your home, school, or church basement. Like Duke Vipperman, you may know some Nepali people in your community who would welcome the chance to connect, perhaps even contributing some music of their own. Ask visitors to make a small donation.
- Auction your services: Hold an auction amongst your more local social media contacts, offering your services as a gardener, baker, carpenter, as a seamstress for their daughter's graduation dress, or as a chauffeur to drive their kids to soccer or baseball. Invite others in your circle to place the next service 'on the block'! Send the donations to reputable charity such as World Vision Canada or UNICEF working in Nepal.
- Create your own sponsored event: This can be done on your own, with a friend or two, or with your neighbors. Use Facebook to announce your ride, hike, or all-day soccer match. You don't need special envelopes and matching t-shirts to make a difference for families in Nepal -- just the will to help.
- Check your calendar: Are you already planning a birthday party, retirement event, end-of-year potluck or dance recital? You could ask for donations for Nepal in lieu of gifts. The Canadian government is matching donations until May 25th.
To learn more about the relief and recovery effort in Nepal, please visit http://worldvision.ca
Churches interested in working with World Vision Canada over the long-term to support the relief and recovery effort in Nepal are invited to visit http://churches.worldvision.ca
World Vision is travelling to remote mountain villages to deliver aid such as tarpaulins.
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