NEPAL425 PHOTO BOOK
By Laura Szanto
After a trekking adventure in Nepal, four photographers found themselves in the heart of the disaster when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the region earlier this year. Together they have formed Nepal425 to raise funds for those most in need in this Himalayan country. Here’s how you can help.
Travelling to Nepal has always been a dream for me. It boasts the world’s biggest mountains and is home to some of the friendliest people on Earth. I met three wonderful friends along the way – Gareth Pickering (SA), Rich Jones (UK) and James Watson (UK) – and we all shared adventures of a lifetime trekking to Everest Base Camp together. We instantly fell in love with the people and beauty of Nepal.
On April 25, 2015, just one week after we returned back from our trekking adventure, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck just outside of the city of Pokhara. The country was devastated. Over 9,000 people died and over 23,000 people were injured. Countless victims were left without adequate shelter and food. For the first time in our lives we found ourselves in a unique situation where we were able to provide help for the people who had taken such good care of us while had stayed in Nepal.
Between the four of us we managed to raise over $20,000 and used those donations to buy the resources we needed to help the victims of Nepal. We spent weeks going to orphanages, schools, and villages high in the mountains to provide them with the resources needed for survival. We built schools, bamboo houses, and delivered truck loads of rice and lentils (which is their staple food) to areas all over Nepal.
As our time in Nepal was beginning to run out, we wanted to come up with a way to support this small country once we had left it. Since the four of us have an avid interest in photography, we came up with an idea to create a collaborative photo book called Nepal 425, where we can tell the story of the earthquake from the eyes of those who were a part of it, along with promoting the beauty of the country from photos of beautiful landscapes before and after the earthquake. We have collected hundreds of images from both professionals and amateurs, from different countries around the world. Their photos will be categorized under four sections of the photobook: Impact, Aid, Resilience, and The Beauty Remains.
In acknowledgment of the 100 days that have passed since the earthquake, Nepal 425 will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo on Monday, August 3rd, 2015, to help raise enough funds to create and sell the photo books. Depending on the pledge one provides, the reward ranges from receiving a photo book to educating a child for a year, and even having a school named after you!
Where will all of this money be donated back in Nepal? One of our beneficiaries is Volunteer Nepal National Group (VolNepal), which is a non-profit organization that focuses on helping rural communities develop their infrastructure, improve their education and literacy, and also works on providing creative therapeutic relief for children. Since the earthquake happened, they have helped to rebuild four schools, have drafted several psychosocial recovery projects, and raised $47,500 towards relief effort.
Laura Szanto is a photographer based in Banff and a member of the Nepal 425 team, along with Gareth Pickering, James Watson, and Rich Jones.