American Jewish World Service (AJWS) has announced five initial emergency grants to Nepali and international relief organizations providing emergency assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities devastated by last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
“In Nepal, we are focusing sharply on providing support to communities that are very vulnerable and are often disproportionately affected by disasters and are unlikely to supported by other funders,” said Sam Wolthuis, AJWS’s Director of Disaster Response and International Operations. “In Nepal, we are seeking to meet the needs of women, youth, LGBT people, Tibetan refugees, people with disabilities and the Dalit community – the lowest caste of Nepal’s centuries-old caste system who are often discriminated against, deprived of economic opportunities and blocked from using public services,” added Wolthuis.
The first round of AJWS grants are being made to the following local and international organizations:
- The Blue Diamond Society (BDS): BDS works with local communities in Kathmandu to improve and promote the health of Nepal’s LGBT community. BDS is providing rescue, relief and rehabilitation support to HIV-positive LGBT people affected by the disaster, but are struggling to provide sufficient care and support due to the lack of food and gas. With an emergency grant from AJWS, BDS will provide the LGBT community with immediate medical support and relief.
- Friends of Shanta Bhawan (FSB): FSB is a nonprofit medical center located in a very poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Kathmandu that has been providing free or low-cost medical care to some of Nepal’s poorest residents for the last 30 years. With an emergency grant from AJWS, FSB will offer free medical services, food and safe drinking water in a very impoverished community that was hit hard by the earthquake.
- Himalayan Healthcare (HH): HH provides healthcare, education, and employment opportunities to disadvantaged communities in remote mountain villages in Nepal, some of which are hundreds of kilometers from a paved road. Since the earthquake, most humanitarian efforts have been unable to access these regions; HH has been a vital lifeline. AJWS will provide an emergency grant to support HH’s relief work in four remote villages that were hard hit by the quake, distributing urgently needed food, tents and emergency care.
- Tewa, the Nepal Women’s Fund (Tewa): Tewa is a women’s rights organization based in Lalitpur, Kathmandu that works to empower rural women and promote justice and equality throughout Nepal. Tewa is providing pregnant mothers shelter in the tent camps with food, water, medical care and blankets. With AJWS funding, Tewa will provide vitally needed maternity and postnatal care for pregnant mothers and babies born during this disaster. With an emergency grant from AJWS, they will also raise awareness in the camps about the risks of waterborne diseases and health epidemics that might arise, and will teach earthquake survivors how to practice safe hygiene to help reduce the risks of these life-threatening illnesses.
- International Medical Corps (IMC): IMC has extensive experience in Nepal and in disaster relief, having served as a first responder after recent major earthquakes in Pakistan, Haiti and Japan. IMC is operating two Medical Mobile Units that treat approximately 200 people per day in Gorkha, Nepal, which is the epicenter of the earthquake. With an emergency grant from AJWS, IMC is providing survivors with immediate first aid and psychosocial support.