Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation – Courage and Compassion in Nepal Earthquake Relief
Phakchok Rinpoche Announces a new direction – May
Some or all of you may know of the amazing work that the emergency earthquake relief branch of the Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation (CGLF) have been doing over the weeks since the April 25 earthquake. You may also know that Phakchok Rinpoche had originally thought to wrap up the relief efforts two weeks after the initial quake, as the emergency team, who had hit the ground running – effectively delivering relief from April 26 – had done such a magnificent job and were exhausted. The plan was that, as of Monday May 11, the efforts of CGLF would be channeled into the rebuilding of monasteries.
However, the 7.3 earthquake that hit on May 12 has changed Rinpoche’s thinking. Within an hour or two of having sent his thank you message to all who have helped with the efforts things changed dramatically as Kathmandu and Northeastern Nepal were once again rocked by seismic activity. In the wake of this second big earthquake, Rinpoche has reconsidered CGLF’s role in the relief efforts. He has decided that it is now necessary to continue with a ‘light relief effort’ in remote areas that are likely to be overlooked by other aid organisations, and to implement a three-month rebuilding operation in these areas. Whereas before Rinpoche’s goal was to help with the rebuilding of monasteries, his objective now is to assist in the reconstruction of homes and schools, as well as some community temples.
The two weeks starting May 11 have been dedicated to scouting remote areas affected by the quakes, and delivering light aid (e.g., food and tents/tarps etc.). The objective of these scouting trips is to establish where rebuilding aid is most needed – i.e., places that are not
being reached by other rebuilding teams. Our efforts, therefore, will focus on the mountainous regions north of Kathmandu.
In his official message to core team members Rinpoche said, “I slept on this idea for two or three days and then I decided. That’s why I did not share with you all right away. Now, I am actually telling you… I am going to do rebuilding of homes and villages and schools, and some community temples.”
This change in direction for the CGLF earthquake relief effort means full-scale fundraising efforts must continue. Without the continuation of incoming donations, the rebuilding work Rinpoche has decided to undertake will be very limited. But with the ongoing help of the sangha and our friends overseas, we will be able to make a marked difference to the lives of thousands of Nepali people, left destitute and homeless by the earthquakes.
Rinpoche asks us all to “Please carry on… we are going to support villages, we are going to raise funds… All within these three months. I just want to tell again very clear: Yes, we need to raise funds.”
Press Release April
Humanitarian projects are at the heart of the Chokgyur Lingpa Foundation (CGLF). Founded in America in 2006, CGLF has benefited thousands of sentient beings through healthcare and education undertakings. But in the wake of the devastating Nepal earthquake, CGLF have been plunged into a much more crucial role in the lives of literally thousands of Nepali people.
Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, the founders of CGLF – His Eminence Tsikey Chokling Rinpoche and Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche – have been right in the thick of things since the first 7.9 earthquake shook the capital city of Kathmandu at 11.56am on Saturday 25 April.
Understanding the gravity of the situation, Phakchok Rinpoche quickly rallied monks and nuns as well as foreign volunteers who had survived the quake and sent teams up into the remote mountain areas north of Kathmandu on reconnaissance missions. Rinpoche set out around Kathmandu on a moped to evaluate the catastrophe himself. Sadly, no one came back from the mountains with good news. Roads were blocked by landslides and fallen buildings and none of the jeeps sent by Rinpoche could get further than the valley mouths. In the Helambu valley, where people live as high as 3,000 metres, the jeeps were only able to reach the town of Melamchi, at an elevation of 900m. People walking down from the mountains brought with them reports of total devastation, along with the critically injured from their villages.
Over the following days Rinpoche has sent wave after wave of volunteers as far as they could go into the mountains, bringing food, water, and medical supplies, and scouting to villages that vehicles cannot reach. Being the head of a sizeable monastery consisting largely of monks from the mountain districts, Rinpoche was quickly informed of villages where no one had been heard from, and where relief efforts were certainly needed. In conjunction with the Nepali military, CGLF volunteers are tirelessly working to get helicopters up to transport the injured and vulnerable from remote villages to military camps, stabilise those who can be stabilised, and move those with severe injuries to hospitals in Kathmandu.
While Kathmandu has been shattered by the quake, villages in the mountain regions have been completely flattened, and although national and international aid agencies have made admirable efforts, there simply isn’t enough getting through to the people there. The warm weather is causing infection and gangrene to set in quickly, the lack of medical supplies means whisky and traditional herbal remedies are being used to treat wounds, and in the face of the coming monsoon rains, people who have survived the initial impact of the quake may well die from exposure and disease. The situation is becoming so dire that over the last few days people have been making long and dangerous journeys down from high, remote areas in the Helambu, Nuwakot, Sindupalchowk, and Rasuwa districts in order to request aid for the many hundreds of villages no one has yet been able to reach.
Although large aid agencies are bringing relief to Kathmandu city, the surrounding towns and villages, and areas around Everest, CGLF has a crucial role to perform – reaching out to areas that may otherwise be overlooked. There are thousands of villages and hamlets in the districts north of the Nepalese capital, all of which have suffered some level of devastation. Without the efforts of CGLF, many of the villagers who have survived the quake will die of exposure or disease. But these efforts will only have potency if there is money behind them.
CGLF is working around the clock, doing its best to send immediate aid and to supply many of the resources needed in the rebuilding of numerous affected communities. Working with foundations such as the World Mercy Fund and Asia Foundation, CGLF is able to put donations to good use. ‘Basically we are sending medical supplies, food, and especially tents,’ Phakchok Rinpoche said in a video update published on CGLF’s Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund page (www.earthquakerelief.cglf.org) on 1 May. ‘Some areas, they’re just asking for food and clothing. Some places, they’re asking for medicine… Right now is a very good time to support.’
Since the earthquake CGLF have:
Helped over 27 villages and are reaching more daily
Distributed more than 1000 sacks of rice, lentils, salt and cooking oil.
In the process of:
Providing over 6000 tarpaulins and tents
Giving aid to more than 25,000 families
CGLF is one of the most effective organisations on the ground in Nepal today. With first-hand knowledge of the people and places most in need, an international support team and donations from the global community, CGLF is best-equipped to deliver desperately needed assistance to the mountain people of northwestern Nepal.
We have been published in the following articles and CGLF is gaining an international presence:
– The Sunday Times – UK – Click Here
– Katu News – USA – Click Here
– Mens Journal -USA – Click Here
– The Daily Star – USA – Click Here
– Heart FM – UK – Click Here
– Weymouth & Dorchester – UK – Click Here
– Patheos – USA – Click Here
For more information about CGLF and how you can help to save lives in Nepal please contact:
Tom Greensmith – International Media Coordinator [email protected] +44 1305 832 169 (UK)
Laura Dainty – Ground Team Liaison Nepal [email protected] +977 981 856 3059 (Nepal)