May 16, 2015
The ANHS community is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life, livelihood, housing and other structures and infrastructure caused by the two massive April and May 2015 earthquakes in Nepal and the ongoing aftershocks throughout the surrounding regions. Many thousands of Nepalis were killed or seriously injured by structures they themselves had carefully and arduously hand built: multigenerational homes; paths and roadways now buried in landslides; temples, other houses of worship, and community centers. As students in other countries fall victim to unspeakable horrors at schools and colleges, millions of Nepali students were mercifully spared when the worst earthquake struck on a Saturday. Only the compassionate outpouring of donations, the massive organizing by the world community, and the physical labor of in-country Nepalis and non-Nepalis, surpass the force of this tragedy. Many ANHS members and their families and friends have participated in these efforts. I am relieved to report that all ANHS members in Nepal are safe, the ANHS-Kathmandu research center was undamaged, and its director Manohari Upadhyaya and his family were unhurt.
As media attention to the earthquake wanes over the next months and even years, ANHS is committed to keeping attention focused on the needs of the region’s people within our capacity as an educational, research and scholarship nonprofit organization. The ANHS Executive Council has approved three main areas of activity as our organizational response to this catastrophe. First, we will produce a biweekly newsletter with information on all aspects of recovery and reconstruction in the communities hardest hit by the earthquake, with a special section on education- and research-related activities. ANHS Executive Council member Jana Fortier has generously volunteered to be the first newsletter editor; we’ll ask for future volunteers from the membership at large. Second, we will create a working database of NGOs, experts, and other associations from regions and communities familiar to ANHS members; we ask that you contribute your first-hand knowledge to this effort. This data, available soon on the ANHS website, will help donors and others make better-informed decisions about directing aid to affected communities. Third, we will direct any funds raised through ANHS expressly for earthquake relief and rebuilding to organizations whose mission corresponds with ours. These might include those working in museums, libraries, and educational institutions that suffered from the earthquake. We may also consider a future grant competition for research related to the earthquake. For these recovery and rebuilding efforts, we’ve created a donation page on our membership website. Please consider a generous tax-deductible donation and tell your family and friends. Thank you!
The first newsletter will be sent to you within one week, and we’ll send you information shortly on volunteering as editors and contributing newsletter information. You’ll also be receiving information on how to contribute to the database when that website is completed.
Thank you for contributing your time, energy, knowledge, and donations to the ANHS community’s earthquake response. If you’re not a member of ANHS, please consider joining, and thank you for your membership application.
With very best wishes,
Mary Cameron, President, ANHS