How To Donate Money To Nepal Earthquake Relief Efforts
Charities and aid organisations are working hard to provide relief in Nepal following the devastating earthquake on 25th April 2015.
The 7.9 magnitude quake triggered landslides and avalanches in the surrounding region and also led to the collapse of countless buildings both in Kathmandu and in smaller villages across Nepal. With people missing, injured and without shelter, support organisations have been providing support for everything from blankets and food to medical supplies and search-and-rescue operations.
For many people, the remoteness of Nepal can make it hard to know exactly how to help. These organisations offer us a way to show support through financial donations that directly contribute to the relief efforts.
With that in mind, here is a look at some of the charities and aid organisations working in Nepal, and what they are doing. While any donation will have some impact, choosing an organisation that resonates with you ensures that you know more about how your donation is helping Nepal.
CARE is a well-established humanitarian organisation that fights global poverty. It had 150 people already working in Nepal when the earthquake struck, and has deployed emergency staff from around the world to help with its relief efforts.
“Our initial response aims to assist 100,000 people with urgent aid including emergency supplies, medical support, clean water, food and shelter,” CARE says on its Nepal Earthquake appeal page.
CARE has worked in Nepal since 1978, with programs focused on areas including food security, HIV/AIDS, health, education, water and sanitation, and the empowerment of women and girls. The organisation also has over 60 years of experience in crisis support and disaster recovery, and outlines how different donation amounts will help its current Nepal efforts.
— CARE (care.org) (@CARE) April 29, 2015
Facebook Nepal Earthquake Support
Facebook has launched a Nepal Earthquake Support donations program, pledging to match up to $2 million of donations from Facebook users, with the social media site saying its matching funds “will be distributed to local relief and rescue organizations working to provide immediate and ongoing relief”.
Donations can be made at https://www.facebook.com/nepalearthquakesupport using a credit card or PayPal account once you are logging into your Facebook account.
But it is worth noting that this initiative has led to some questions and criticism from people that have donated, with a number of Facebook users posting comments saying they were charged more than the specified amount and did not get a receipt for their transaction (and very few responses from Facebook to these issues).
Friends Service Council Nepal
This Nepalese NGO is based in Kathmandu and has over 20 years experience in supporting relief efforts in the area, with around 50 volunteers currently on the ground.
The Friends Service Council Nepal (FSCN) has told Time that they have been “rushing money, food and tents to people in need”.
While FSCN does not have an online donation option currently set up, they have invited people to get in touch with them directly for information on how to donate to them.
Future Village Foundation
Future Village is a research and project-based NGO that provides education, health and agricultural assistance in Nepal.
The organisation has a base in Nepal, and focuses on local partnerships and zero administration fees in order to “maximise the benefit for the poor at the lowest cost”. Future Village is currently focused on relief efforts to help children in Nepal whose homes and schools (where they live most of the time) have been destroyed.
Fundraising organiser Zara Balfour explains on the donation page that most of the children they are working with are currently sleeping outside as a result of the destruction. “It’s raining heavily. They have no tents, no electricity, and food is running out already,” she writes.
“They need funds to get them to short-term safety and in the longer term to help re-build their school, which is also their home. Their families are too poor and live too far away to help and so they need us.”
Donations are made through a secure online payment system, and transactions are in Euros (so they could be considered “foreign transactions” by your bank), with all the funds raised going “direct to the children”.
This charity fundraising website has set up a Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund with a goal of raising $2.5 million towards relief efforts.
The donation page says the fund will help first “responders meet survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter.
“Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted local organisations,” it says.
“By funding the relief efforts of local organisations, donations to this fund have the potential to build stronger disaster-response capacity so that these organizations are better equipped to face future disasters.”
As of 30th April, over 1.6 million has been raised through the platform, and GlobalGiving says it will also update donors and subscribers on how funds have been used via social media and emails.
Handicap International is a charity that supports people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. Its had an ongoing presence in Nepal since 2000 and has responded quickly to the impact of the earthquake by bringing in additional teams to help the 50 people already in Nepal.
After an initial response that involved distributing equipment to two hospitals in Kathmandu, Handicap International staff are now providing emergency rehabilitation care to the injured.
— Handicap Intl UK (@HI_UK) April 28, 2015
“When a lot of people have been injured in an earthquake, each individual needs to be case-managed as quickly as possible, and provided with follow-up care once they leave the hospital,” says Hélène Robin, the head of Handicap International’s emergency response for Nepal.
“Our experience in natural disasters, particularly in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010, has taught us that it’s important to stay in touch with the injured after they return home, and to continue providing them with care so that they don’t develop permanent disabilities.”
International Medical Corps
International Medical Corps has over 30 years experience delivering healthcare services and support to populations affected by war, natural disasters and disease. It has set up a dedicated fund for its Nepal relief efforts, and it also receiving funds through people that donate via Facebook’s Nepal Earthquake donation feature.
International Medical Corps says it is “deploying mobile medical units to provide emergency care and vital relief supplies, including medicine, hygiene kits, shelter materials, blankets and water purification supplies.”
“Our emergency response team has been on the ground since April 25 when the quake struck, assessing the damage, delivering critically needed medicines and supplies and mobilizing to provide emergency care to survivors.”
Donations can be made directly through the International Medical Corps website, or via Facebook, which has pledged to match in-service donations up to a total of $2 million.
Oxfam is one of the more well-known NGOs working in Nepal, where it says its teams are “responding with lifesaving essentials – clean water, sanitation and emergency food supplies”.
The Oxfam Australia donation page offers some transparency when it comes to how the money donated is used, with 90% going directly to “emergency response” and 10% going to fundraising and administration efforts “as per Oxfam International’s emergency appeal standards”.
It also explains what happens to funds not used during the initial relief efforts: “Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate and longer term needs of the people in the affected areas, Oxfam Australia will direct donations to our International Crisis Fund to enable us to rapidly address emergencies as they occur.”
PayPal Giving Fund
PayPal is used by many of the aid groups listed here as a way for people to donate to the Nepal relief efforts. The web payment company has further shown its support by waiving fees for donations so that “100% of your donation reaches the non-profit”.
PayPal also has a counter to show how much has been raised through its donations service, and includes some sound advice for people wanting to donate to the Nepal earthquake relief efforts:
“Every organization uses their donations differently. When you choose a nonprofit to support, please read their mission statement or visit their website to understand how your gift will be used.”
Nepal Red Cross says it was was active “since the first hours of the quake, with volunteers helping their neighbours evacuate to safety”.
An international Red Cross response is now underway, with emergency response teams and relief supplies being transported to Nepal. Red Cross says that funds raised from the Nepal Region Earthquake Appeal will “provide humanitarian support to people and communities in Nepal and in regions affected by the Nepal earthquake, including:
- emergency relief and recovery assistance
- water and sanitation, shelter, health, protection, livelihoods, community safety and resilience initiatives
- sending specialist aid workers to assist in initial assessments, relief, recovery and longer-term disaster management operations
- supporting Red Cross to prepare for, scale up and deliver relief and recovery services.
Like Oxfam, Red Cross also specifies that up to 10% of the donated amount could go towards appeal and administration costs, but says that at least 90% of the money will go directly to its emergency response and relief efforts in Nepal.
Save the Children
Save the Children has been working in Nepal since 1979 and says it is the “largest children charity on [the] ground”, which gives it a unique awareness of the conditions in Nepal and has helped the organisation respond quickly.
“Our teams are on the frontline with children and their families, coordinating an emergency response,” its appeal page says.
“We are already distributing essential items such as shelter, household and hygiene kits to those hardest hit by this catastrophic earthquake.”
While Save the Children’s donation page does outline what specific donation amounts can achieve, it’s worth noting that up to 17% of each donation could go towards administrative and other costs (as outlined in the Save the Children FAQs).
Seven Women is an organisation that has previously been focused on empowering marginalised and disabled women in Nepal through skills training and employment. It actually sells a wide range of clothing and accessories online and at stalls around Australia, and has previously been profiled as a social enterprise for consumers.
But following the devastation of the earthquake, this not-for-profit organisation says it is “modifying our mission to respond to the immediate needs”.
“For the next three months every donation on our website will go towards our emergency relief fund. 100% of your donation will be invested in the people we work with at Seven Women,” the Seven Women team says in a blog post that also outlines how people can donate online or directly.
“The money will be spent on food, shelter, clothing and bedding. They will be bought from local businesses in Nepal and transported to the areas most affected by the earthquake.”
UNICEF has two offices in Kathmandu and has been working in Nepal since 1964 to save and improve the lives of the country’s most vulnerable children.
Since the earthquake, UNICEF has been distributing prepositioned supplies such as tents, tarpaulins and other non-food items, and is now focused on providing humanitarian assistance.
It says it is “mobilising staff and emergency supplies to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children affected by the earthquake, focusing on water and sanitation, nutrition, education and child protection”.
“Some 1.7 million children require humanitarian assistance, and UNICEF is on the ground working to provide critical aid to children and families.” Donations can be made through the UNICEF Australia website.
Things to consider before making a donation to the Nepal earthquake relief efforts
This article profiles some of the organisations offering relief and support in Nepal following the 25th April earthquake – but there are many others out there that are working just as hard to help Nepal recover from this natural disaster. So before donating, it is a good idea to consider exactly where you want your money to go and finding an appropriate organisation or relief appeal fund.
As some media reports have already outlined, there are effective and ineffective ways to offer relief after disasters, and the more informed people are about these things, the more chance there is of having a positive effect.
Another thing to consider is exactly how donations are being used. As some of the profiles above highlight, some funds could go towards administrative or other costs faced by the individual organisation. Usually you can find out exactly how much is actually being used for relief via the donation page or FAQs. But otherwise, a service like Charity Navigator can help you find out how your money is used.
While the people on the ground are having a direct impact on the relief efforts, these organisations can hugely benefit from financial support from people anywhere in the world. Making sure you know what you are supporting means that you can donate money knowing that it is doing as much as it can for Nepal in the process.