As Nepal continues to recover from an April earthquake that claimed more than 8,000 people, Barkha Limbu Daily will continue adding to the thousands of dollars she has raised for the survivors rebuilding their lives.
Limbu Daily, a native of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, is owner and executive chef of The Cheel, a Himalayan restaurant in Thiensville. She launched a fundraising campaign shortly after the earthquake to help victims immediately.
The campaign, known as Hope for Nepal, initially set out to raise $10,000. To date, the campaign has collected more than $17,500, all of which Limbu Daily has routed to Nepal.
“When you have a natural disaster like this, it’s not like you help for a few minutes or a few days or a month and it’s done,” Limbu Daily said.
Many of Limbu Daily’s family members and friends still live in Nepal and, along with other survivors of the natural disaster, still live in devastation, she said.
Access to transportation, clean water, food, shelter and electricity remain challenges, particularly as political and economic unrest within the country compound daily life struggles, she added.
Limbu Daily decided to collect funds for earthquake survivors in order to inspire the greatest impact on recovery efforts. Rather than sending food, tents or other supplies to the country – which would have proven difficult with shipping and customs costs and lack of a strong regulation system – she wanted to get donations right into the hands of survivors and “give power to the people on the ground.”
She wired the money to her family through Western Union so they could funnel it into urgent recovery initiatives.
Of all the money Limbu Daily has collected, about $9,000 has directly served basic needs, funding rice, lentils and oil, as well as drums to hold water and temporary tents for families that have been completely displaced.
Remaining proceeds have been flagged for the redevelopment of a destroyed elementary and middle school located in the village of Dukuchhap.
Limbu Daily hopes to be able to build a school with four different rooms so multiple classes can be held at once. She is still configuring financing.
“I want to stretch my dollars as much as I can,” she said.
The timeline for the school remains up in the air in light of the unrest plaguing the country, but Limbu Daily said she is optimistic that it will be built and will help strengthen Nepal’s education system.
“When you don’t have (a quality education system), the future looks grim,” Limbu Daily said. “And I want all of those kids to be able to have the same opportunities I did.”
In running the “Hope for Nepal” campaign, The Cheel pulled in dollars through an online donation platform and also accepted contributions from restaurant patrons and community partners, including schools and churches.
Limbu Daily says she was both humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, particularly for a cause in a part of the world so far from southeastern Wisconsin.
“(People) just came out of nowhere just to provide any sort of help,” she said.