Following the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal on April 25, 2015, the St. George’s University community was keen to play a part in restoring hope amidst the destruction. Sixteen of St. George’s University’s academic, religious, ethnic, and special interest student groups came together to launch a campaign themed “Hope for Nepal” that raised EC$37,776.82 for victims of the earthquake.
The students made announcements in classrooms, set up times and locations for collections around campus, reached out to all student organizations, and even had volunteers going door to door in dormitories at SGU’s True Blue campus. The response they received was overwhelming; they were approached by students, faculty members, clinical tutors, and student organizations everywhere on campus, even in study halls, and volunteers reported that 99 percent of students residing in the dormitories donated.
“Despite the short time we had, we were overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity that surrounded us,” said Katayoun Seyedmadani, Education Coordinator for SGU’s Surgery Club and IT Director of SGU’s chapter of American Medical Students’ Association (AMSA). “This was the most beautiful display of unity, love, compassion, and care for humankind by student organizations, the student body, faculty, clinical tutors, volunteers, and our community. We were able to reach out to Nepal and make a real impact on the lives of real people who have gone through more than we can imagine.”
The money raised has been divided among three organizations in Nepal: Nepal Medical Students Society (NMSS), a sister chapter of SGU’s International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) student group, Orchid Garden Nepal (OGN), and Project CURE. Each of these groups targets a different area of need in Nepal. NMSS received 75 percent of the funds raised, a total of EC$28,334.39EC, equivalent to US$10,494.22 or $1,074,607.98 Nepalese Rupees. This figure covers 89.6 percent of the long-term projected relief budget for the organization. NMSS provides emergency relief including water, food, shelter, and medical aid to the most affected rural northern regions of Nepal, which are far removed from main roads and do not receive sufficient aid from the government. NMSS will also soon launch a special project that will focus on caring for those orphaned by the earthquake, and will rebuild schools and provide training programs to help the youth gain employment.
The Hope for Nepal team also donated EC$7,555.83 or US$2,798.46 to The Orchid Garden, which supports and runs a school for impoverished families. OGN lost one of its students in the earthquake, and many of the families it supports lost their homes. The funds from SGU will support the rebuilding of at least six homes.
Project CURE, a non-profit organization which partners with the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to provide medical and surgical kits for relief efforts, received EC$1,888.95 or US$699.61. Team SGU used this to purchase three CURE medical kits, each containing nearly US$2,000 worth of supplies, and other general medical supplies.
All funds sent were wired directly to the organizations, and the cost was covered by the student groups.
“This was truly a community effort and we would like to thank everyone who generously gave their funds, time, and talents,” said Joshua Carlson, President of IFMSA-SGU. “We are inspired and humbled by their kindness. They strengthened our faith in humanity and in the future of the world we live in. They can rest knowing that, because of their donation, people of Nepal will have the support they need to begin to rebuild stronger and more resilient lives.”