AAPIP Voices

The Long Road to Recovery: Providing Relief for Victims of the Nepal Earthquake


Post by Aki Shibuya

Our hearts go out to those who were struck by the earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, April 25. During times like these, it is difficult to stand aside and watch relief aid swoop into action. While our organizational priorities focus on what occurs within API communities in the United States, we acknowledge that various streams of movement – be it communication or people – make our world feel smaller. We also know that many Nepalese Americans have family in Nepal, and are working to help them from abroad. We stand with our Nepalese brothers and sisters, and want to extend our help in any way possible.

Facts About the Nepalese American Community

  • Political and economic unrest caused by the conflict between the government and Maoists insurgents from 1996-2006 resulted in a significant increase of Nepalese immigration.
  • According to the US Census, there were a reported 57,209 Nepali people in the United States in 2010. While these numbers demonstrate a large growth in the Nepalese community in the United States from 2000,
    they do not accurately reflect the true number
    of Nepali. Reasons range from unspecified categorization options on the census (i.e. checking off “Asian Other” versus a specified “Nepali/Nepalese” box) to undocumented migrations.
  • New York, Washington DC, Dallas, Boston,
    and San Francisco are home to the largest Nepalese communities in the United States.
  • Remittances from workers abroad are the largest source of foreign income to Nepal.
  • Nepal ranks 11th of countries sending the highest number of students to the United States.

Information from Adhikaar’s “Snapshots of the Nepali-Speaking Community in New York City: Demographics and Challenges” Report, 2010.

With a rising death and injury toll, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) currently estimates that $415 million will be needed to help rebuild the country. These funds will undoubtedly aid the more than 8 million people affected by this disaster.

While there are many reputable groups calling for donations, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight two grantmaking organizations that have held long-term partnerships with Nepalese community groups.  Their critical work is not only immediately impactful, but is also vital in ensuring stable long-term recovery.

International Development Exchange (IDEX) partners with ASHA Nepal and WACN, organizations working with local networks of indigenous women in rural areas of Nepal. With membership of over 36,000 women in 50 communities, these organizations have a wealth of knowledge of the immediate needs of local and vulnerable populations.

The Global Fund for Women works with grassroots organizations supporting women and their livelihood in Nepal. Familiar with the everyday needs of their community that are often overlooked by larger organizations, these women have been at the forefront of providing the necessary post-disaster attention, aid, and resources.

With the majority of the Nepalese/Nepalese-American population falling between the ages of 18 and 55, it is a young community, and thus possesses relatively strong ties to Nepal. Adhikaar, a New York-based non-profit organization that advocates for the lives and voices of Nepalese-speaking communities, is collecting recovery funds to distribute to local organizations in Nepal. They are also working to gather volunteers in India and Nepal to help with the relief efforts.

Although the news cameras are slowly moving away from the devastation in Nepal, there is still a lot of work to do to help the country and its people get back on their feet. Please consider donating to one of these organizations so that their important work on the ground can continue.

For more information on IDEX, please visit their website.

For more information on the Global Fund for Women, please visit their homepage.

For more information on Adhikaar, please visit their website.