One month ago I arrived back in France after a year abroad following my graduation from engineering school. I spent the first six months of my year out doing voluntary work in India and travelled in Asia and the Middle East for the other 6 months. This past month I have spent organizing a project dear to my heart that emerged during the trip, more precisely in Nepal. The project is a humanitarian photo exhibition about my journey.
Why a humanitarian photo exhibition?
Last April I was trekking in Nepal when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the country, killing nearly 9,000 people and making a million homeless. I stayed there to volunteer with the NGO Nepal Grassroots Recovery and my passion for photography took over, leading me to this exhibition project. Today Nepal is faced with a complex economic and political crisis which is hindering the country’s recovery from the disaster.
The exhibition will be free. We will raise money for Nepal by selling photographs and postcards and give the proceeds to the two NGOs described below. For every EURO collected through this fundraising operation, we would like to give the NGOs €2. The final goal is thus to give €5,000 to Nepal.
The exhibition is scheduled from the 17th of December 2015 to the 10th of January 2016 in Paris [Link to the Facebook event]. I will exhibit around twenty pictures taken on my travels, from India and Nepal to Iran, through China and Kirghizstan. There will be a stand for buying or ordering prints as well as greeting cards.
An unforgettable trek
Most tourists were evacuated after the disaster, but I continued my trek amidst the tremors that were still strong and part of daily life. I was deeply touched by the experience of passing through devastated villages, meeting people bravely struggling while being myself at risk all the time.
When I came back to Kathmandu I joined Nepal Grassroots Recovery and volunteered with them for several weeks. We supplied food to remote villages and built temporary shelters before the monsoon started. Today, nothing has been rebuilt and people are still struggling to live there.
A solo journey
After six months volunteering in India, my stay in Nepal became the beginning of another journey through west China, Kirghizstan and the Caucasus, ending in Iran and finally Turkey. During this year abroad I lived with a number of different ethnic groups and nationalities, including Uighurs, Kurds and Tibetans. I had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of cultures completely different from my own and see some truly stunning landscapes I would like to share through this exhibition.
In this time of trouble, I think it would be a pleasant way to gather and share experiences about different cultures in an enjoyable atmosphere and at the same time commit in favor of Nepal.
Projects we support
The two projects below were selected because they deal with traditions as well as modernity, helping Nepal in both the long run and the short term. These projects are carried out by professional and trustworthy friends of ours, which avoids the problem of funds not reaching their intended destination, a major concern for the success of any humanitarian project.
Project #1: Help the Dalit Gandharba People through Crisis Recovery International
Crisis Recovery International is currently working to provide assistance that will empower the Dalit Gandharba communities of Nepal to become increasingly self-supporting as they recover from the earthquake disaster that recently devastated their country in April 2015.
Your donation will be used to fund long-term sustainable development within the Gandharba communities through the legal purchase of animals and seeds for community agriculture projects and also the purchase of supplies and funding of teaching programs to help the Gandharba in applying their instrument-making talents to the creation of other practical and easy-to-sell items (such as stools). For more information on the situation of the Gandharba people of Nepal and the NGO, please see the links below:
More about the Gandharba people: Dalit Gandharba Presentation
Crisis recovery international: www.crisisrecovery.org
On facebook: CrisisRecoveryInternational
Project #2: Support kids’ creative education with Nepal Grassroots Recovery
Nepal Grassroots Recovery is moving on from its role distributing emergency aid to start building innovative Maker Spaces/ schools in the epicenters of Nepal's quakes. The goal is to provide free technology and training for kids to instill a D.I.Y. mindset. By providing tools and technology ranging from hammers to 3D printers, we are providing opportunities that drive creativity, self-learning, and innovation that empower kids to achieve their dreams.
Just in case you were wondering, a Maker is someone who makes. Our goal is to make Makers. By teaching tech with culturally relevant projects, kids learn that they can create their own world and possibilities. We believe that showing a child that they can accomplish great things with Engineering, Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Arts, and Math (E.S.T.E.A.M.) will not only prevent rural villages from falling farther behind the developed world, but can support a village’s medical, infrastructure, and cultural needs.
Finally, the Maker's Space facilities will function as a village resource center/tool library, volunteer hub for Nepal Grassroots Recovery volunteers/teachers can come and help to rebuild Nepal, and a center for free adult education. We believe that in less than one to two years; we can teach people living in remote villages to independently compete in a global job market.
Please visit our website: www.nepalgrassrootsrecovery.org,
Or send us an email with inquiries about the projects, concerns, or instructions on how to volunteer at:
To follow us on facebook: NepalGrassrootsRecovery