Campus Nepali community asks for help after earthquake

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In response to Nepal’s most devastating earthquake in 81 years, the Nepal Student Association is holding a candlelight vigil Wednesday night and requesting help from the UW-Madison community to support relief efforts.

The 7.8-magnitude quake struck early Saturday morning, killing upwards of 4,000 people and injuring 7,000 more. Early estimates of the damage indicate that rebuilding efforts could cost billions.

“Fortunately, most of the immediate family members of Nepali students here at UW-Madison are okay,” says Som Khanal, a Ph.D. student in the food science department from eastern Nepal. “But our neighborhoods are gone. Our relatives and friends have to leave their homes.”

The vigil will take place at 7 p.m. near the Capitol. The Nepal Student Association is coordinating the vigil and fundraising with the Nepali American Friendship Association, a community group based in Madison.

The student association suggests that donations be made to Sarvodaya USA, a nonprofit with ties to both UW-Madison and Nepal. Since 2010, the organization has partnered with the UW-Madison Global Health Institute to improve education in rural Nepal with the help of student volunteers. Donations will go directly to aiding rural villages, some near the earthquake’s epicenter, in recovery and rebuilding.

“We want to be with our families right now, but school is not over,” said Surendra Prajapati, a sixth-year medical physics student and the president of the Nepal Student Association. “This is why we need to fundraise, to raise awareness. This is what we can do.”

View Chancellor Blank’s message with support for students and employees impacted by the disaster.

By Devin Lowe/ April 28, 2015

This story was originally posted by UW-Madison News.

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