In April 2015 a major earthquake hit Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and
injuring tens of thousands more. The event was initially widely reported, but as
usual the world media faded away in time. On day three I found myself
watching a video of a friend, Gokul Thapa, literally hanging out of a helicopter,
flying close to ruined hillside villages, dropping aid packages to the villagers.
Villages had hung precariously on the steep hills for many generations, and
the villagers eked out a subsistence living farming, but the earthquake
flattened their houses and landslides ruined their fields.
To want to help is a natural reaction, to not know how to is normal, but dis-
empowering. Days passed and I watched Gokul Thapa, pulling out all the
stops to help his fellow Nepalese. He partnered with Tej Foundation and Real
Himalaya, and together they were able to help thousands of rural Nepalese
The following month saw Nepal, and particularly the Kathmandu Valley, suffer
yet another earthquake. Going out then to help was impossible, but together
with a friend I set about Crowd Funding to support Gokul in his ongoing work.
In September Paula and I sent the money to Gokul and caught flights to
We spent two wonderful weeks in Nepal, where we met some amazing
people, and saw first-hand the devastation caused in Kathmandu and
surrounding areas. We travelled, by bus and on foot, with a small team of
International volunteers and Nepalese tradesmen, to a remote village in
Rasuwa region. Their school had been flattened and we could still see the
broken desks, parts of books and other personal things amongst the rubble.
Luckily the children had not been in school that morning, but many had lost
homes and family.
Together we built them a new school, taught English and learnt Nepalese
songs and dances. We enjoyed wonderful food and laughed with the children
while flying paper planes and blowing bubbles. We plaited the girl’s hair and
treated their minor injuries, in a couple of more serious cases we were able to
pay for treatment in the local hospital, which was over two hours walk away.
Back in the UK, I started to think about how I could continue to support the
school and the new friends we had made in Nepal. So now I import Cashmere
direct from Chandrakala's factory, where it is dyed and made into beautiful
things, and bangles from Basundhara, who makes and sells them to support
herself and her daughter Rubi.
Etsy has been the perfect platform for this, and now we have our own website.
The profit I make from the bangles I return to Basundhara, usually by paying
double her invoice, but also in support of Rubi's education. Profits from the
Cashmere are returned to Semjong Primary School, we have provided new
textbooks and warmer uniform.
In Nepal parents have to provide everything that their children need for school,
including textbooks and pencils. Rural families struggle to find enough food to
eat, it is usually not possible for them to spend money on education. Often the
children walk to school bare foot, a journey that can take up at an hour or
Thank you for reading our story, please do contact me if you would like more
information on volunteering or trekking or holidaying in Nepal. If you have a
real live shop and would like to stock your own range of cashmere goods drop
us a line – anything can be dyed and made to individual designs and we can
also produce them with your own label.
Tweets by AmaDablam4Rubi