ITHACA, New York – Nepal is known to many as the home of the great Mount Everest, but what most do not know is that it also ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. The region suffers from a lack of economic and social infrastructure, which is important in terms of sustainability for people living in both rural and urban areas. The caste system also hinders people’s opportunity to seek a proper education or necessary healthcare. Of all the groups and individuals currently suffering in Nepal, those who undergo the most hardship are predominately women and children.
In hopes of tempering the burden for those suffering most is the Educate the Children (ETC) non-profit organization who are hosting on a benefit concert on January 25 in Ithaca, New York. ETC teamed up with Diwas Gurung, former members of the Ayurveda, The Rungs, Boy with a Fish and other hometown bands in an effort to raise money for children’s education, women’s empowerment and sustainable agricultural programs in Nepal. Gurung, whose home country is in Nepal, became passionate the benefit concert after learning about the ongoing work being done by ETC.
“Every young person deserves a chance at getting an education, but unfortunately, civil unrest and poverty in many areas in Nepal hinder those opportunities. When I learned about the work that ETC is doing, from right here in Ithaca, to improve schools, train teachers, and make education accessible in remote areas, it reminded me that people really can come together and make a difference. It is rare to find programs like ETC, that actually give people the power to self-sustain,” said Gurung.
ETC was born almost 25 years ago when founder Pamela Carson visited Kathmandu in in 1989 and saw the conditions many young children were living in. There, she befriended three young boys who gave her a glimpse into their everyday lives. The visit moved her so much that she arranged for the three young boys to be put in school and later, adopted one of the children as her own. The rest, they say, is now history.
“When she came back to Ithaca, with the help of a group of committed friends and family members, Pamela started Educate the Children as a way to match up needy kids in Nepal with sponsors who could pay the school-related fee. In Nepal, the average annual household income is about $500 per year, and many people have large families, so many families cannot afford to pay the relatively small amounts of money that are necessary to buy school uniforms, books, and supplies,” said ETC’s United States Director Lisa Lyons.
ETC’s benefit concert, Rock for the Himalayas, took donations of various sizes and raffled off many items to the public. $5 was the suggested donation price as it’s enough to provide two women with tools to grow nutritious food to feed their families year round, provide four children with art school supplies, and help train teachers. Even though times can be tough in Nepal, there are many people globally that are doing their best to come to their aid.
– Jeffrey Scott Haley
Sources: Ithaca, Educate the Children, Ithaca Journal