On April 26, 2015, an earthquake of a 7.9 magnitude, struck Nepal and killed nearly 8000 people.
I work as a volunteer for Karuna Shechen, a non-profit organisation which provides help and support mainly in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. The province of Bihar of northern India was also affected by the earthquake.
Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Nepal and India and appraise some of the projects of Karuna in the field. Our foundation tries to reinforce the autonomy of the villagers in the long term, by rebuilding schools, providing seeds for vegetable gardens where the local inhabitants lost their food supplies. We also organize mobile clinics throughout 16 districts in the country.
Karuna teamed up with ten local organisations to spread/extent the range of their assistance.
Although the rural areas were most affected by the earthquake, the capital Kathmandu was also damaged and some of the historical sites severely destroyed, such as the Stupa of Kathmandu were the population created a human chain passing each other bricks to rebuild this UNESCO classified monument.
Day by day, brick by brick, Nepal is being reconstructed by it’s people and I was surprised by the attitude of most of my encounters: seeing the earthquake as an opportunity, not a fatality, a challenge, not a problem. The resilience of the Nepalese is admirable and we want to carry on supporting their work and efforts in the future.
One year after the earthquake, Nepal is struggling with the reconstruction because most of the financial aid promised by the governments, still hasn’t reached the different local organisations and is also due to the uncleared roads that impede the delivery of supplies and building material. Nepal is also facing new challenges. High joblessness among it’s population results in migration to countries such as the Emirates in search for jobs on construction sites and better pay. Human trafficking has increased because children, orphaned after the earthquake, are sent to the city with the hope of a better future. Karuna Shechen was founded in 2000 by Matthieu Ricard, a French Buddhist monk who lives in the Himalayas since his twenties. He is a prolific writer and amazing photographer.
These images illustrate life in Nepal and the activities of Karuna Shechen in the field. These pictures were taken with a Leica M (Typ 262), a 35mm Summicron and a 50mm Summilux. If you want to learn more about our activities in India and Nepal: www.karuna-shechen.org.