Nepal’s Camp Hope is a privately and publicly funded safe haven for displaced families from the Sindhupalchowk district north of Kathmandu, Nepal. Camp Hope spans one square kilometer and is made up of a series of large tents. The tents, which were provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have enough strength to withstand the annual monsoon season in Nepal. USAID assisted Nepal providing shelter and protection for 310,000 Nepalese people displaced by earthquakes.
Nepal’s Camp Hope was made possible thanks to the combined efforts of USAID and Sangeeta Shrestha. Shrestha is the camp founder and runs a world-class boutique heritage hotel called Dwarika. Shrestha had a great deal of trouble finding a location for Camp Hope because the local government would not relinquish any land to the cause. Thankfully, Shrestha says, “a local youth club came offering their football ground, so here we are.”
In order to make Nepal’s Camp Hope possible, Shrestha has enlisted numerous volunteers and specific members of her hotel staff. Certain volunteers are in charge of checking and registering every individual before they are permitted access to the camp. The engineers and technicians who work in hotel Dwarika are responsible for building the many tent structures that make up Nepal’s Camp Hope.
Shrestha and her hotel supply Camp Hope with food. Camp Hope is striving to meet the emotional and social needs of the thousands of displaced individuals. In order to accomplish this feat, Camp Hope provides spaces for prayer, tents for creating crafts and has built a local school with 83 students currently enrolled. All of these programs help Camp Hope residents slowly recover from the tragic earthquake that changed their lives.
A devastating earthquake ripped through the Sindhupalchowk district on April 25, 2015. Fortunately, 500,000 families managed to survive despite the fact that their villages had been reduced to rubble. Those 500,000 families equated to approximately 88 percent of the dwellings in that district.
The earthquake was the worst natural disaster in Nepal in the last 80 years. Unfortunately, Nepal would suffer a second earthquake only 17 days later, followed by a series of aftershocks. Both of the earthquakes combined resulted in 6,200 deaths in Nepal alone, over 14,000 injuries across the country, and massive landslides that engulfed over 130,000 homes. According to the U.N., 8 million people were said to have been affected.
This is why Nepal’s Camp Hope is viewed as such a pivotal sanctuary for everyone who is a part of it. The overall atmosphere and environment is filled with laughter, conversation, activities and interaction between the residents.
The residents give vitality to Camp Hope, which truly feels like a unified community within a village. Although Camp Hope is a wondrous place for displaced individuals, the main mission is to rebuild the villages that were destroyed by the earthquakes. The U.S. and Nepal’s governments are working together to help rebuild the communities that were affected.
It was decided at the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction that U.S. funding for emergency relief and recovery efforts would be raised to $130 million.
Part of that funding will help establish 1,000 temporary educational centers for misplaced children. Not enough can be said about the valiant efforts put forth by the Nepalese government, the U.S. and Camp Hope. Millions of people have been positively affected and stronger communities will be built in the future.
– Terry J. Halloran