If you read my previous post, you will know that I recently financed a trip to Nepal to deliver our fundraising efforts directly to a village co-operative of paper makers, to generate trade revival from aid, for long-term recovery.
It was important to me to be able to report back first-hand on the destination and impact of our 10%-of-sales pledge and your personal donations. (Which were many - from $10 to $500 - I was humbled and amazed by the response.)
One family's effort can directly touch another family in need
Apart from the bulk of the money that we had earmarked for the trade-generating project, I had also been entrusted with $130 by my Osteopath, raised from selling Ecostore soaps at her clinic and her children’s school. This amount I had kept apart in the hope that there would be an opportunity to help somebody on a more personal level.
And so I was on the lookout for that when I met Shyam, the Watchman.
I first noticed Shyam sitting at the side of the road as I approached the paper co-operative main building for our inspection of the premises. He was introduced to me as ‘the watchman’ - a quiet, old man who did indeed watch us as he accompanied us on our tour.
Later we talked about a view of the damages to the village.
Shyam showed us his temporary shelter near the pile of rocks that had once been his home.
He also proudly introduced his two goats that he was so grateful to have saved from the quakes.
The non-corporate approach allows modest donations to make a big impact
Without a doubt, every story in the village would have moved me in the same way, but this is the person that fate put in my path that day and so in the evening we walked back up with the intent of donating some money to help him. This time there was a younger woman and a boy with him. He was surprised to see us again.
I bought apples, cheese and biscuits to share, and in an envelope the 10,000 Rupees that came with a special wish from a family in New Zealand and the hope that it might buy him a roof before winter set in.
It was a humbling experience to give help in that way. Shyam was moved to tears and looked stunned. And when we were invited in to tea, I learned his story - just one of so many - that moved me to tears also.
We were introduced to his daughter-in-law and his 14 year old grandson. Shyam told us how his son had died and how his own wife had had to move back with her family because her leg had been amputated and could not manage to live there anymore. All hopes were on the boy now to do something with his life to help support them. I learned that the watchman's salary was 500 rupees (US$5) a month which put our seemingly small donation into an entirely different perspective.
Confirmation that we can do something important at community level
I was also told that Shyam’s daughter-in law-had worked for 10 years at the paper company and was very much hoping that production could commence again. They had not had any income since the earthquake.
So there you have it. A personal encounter and new hope brought about by the generosity of just one family.
As we stated right at the start, we promised that every penny would go directly to real people to make a real difference, as soon as possible. We continue to maintain links with our trader-villages and donations are still very much welcome. .
Thank you for taking time to read this story, please share and donate if you can - help is still needed and there are many more stories untold.
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