The earthquake in Nepal has so far claimed at least 5,000 lives, and the number is expected to double, with many more injured, displaced, homeless, and in need. It’s an impossible international disaster to ignore, even though many of us are thousands of miles away. Despite the distance, it’s something that intimately affects those who have family and friends in Nepal, like designer Prabal Gurung. “Nepal is truly my home," he says. "I grew up there, have family there, so it’s inevitably part of who I am. Nepal was and is in a state of complete shock and they need the funds to help handle what they’re going through.”
One of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal lacks the infrastructure to quickly deliver emergency aid. Newsweek reports that in some places, “There is no sanitation — waste is dumped into open sewage lines — and no clean cooking facilities, and, where the Red Cross can’t reach, no safe drinking water or food.” Gurung says his family is safe, though they're far from their homes: “I have both immediate and extended family and friends on the ground in Nepal," he says. "I’m constantly in touch for updates.”
“My first reaction was to make sure my family and friends were as safe as they can be, considering the situation,” says Gurung. “Once I had a minute to digest it all, I knew right away I had to do something and act quickly on it.” Gurung is the founder of Shikshya Foundation Nepal, which offers education for displaced children, and is creating the Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund in response to the disaster. One hundred percent of all donations will go toward aid, and help provide medical support, search and rescue resources, emergency shelters, and food and water. Says Gurung, "It's devastating and frustrating to be so far from what is happening there. The images of the Nepalese people in despair and buildings in complete ruin is gut-wrenching. But, I've been receiving such an incredible response, though, from people around the world asking what they can do to help raise awareness and funds to support."