December 2015

Dear Donors and Friends,

Nancy and I have deep gratitude for all of you, as you have supported our work and the communities in Nepal in years past, through this disaster, and into the future. Many of you contributed greatly this summer by organizing fundraising events, hosting donation dinners, and offering a matching grant for funds raised. We have a few of your stories below. Although we can’t mention everyone here, you will find a list of donors on our website—and you are the foundation on which our programs thrive. Thank you!

2015 has been a difficult year in Nepal—the two major earthquakes, aftershocks which lasted for months, political conflict in passing a new constitution, and now a blockade of gas, cooking fuel, and medicine which has resulted in a crisis that has shut down flights, road traffic, restaurants and is crippling hospitals, tourism, and businesses. The country is moving from monsoon rains to the start of winter, but the government has hardly moved on beginning reconstruction. After seven months, they have finally given authority to a government body to start making spending decisions for international relief and reconstruction funds. It may take a few more months before any real decisions are made, much less the distribution of funds.

We have all, Nepalis and foreigners, farmers and businessmen, children and adults, been coping as best we can with the trauma we’ve lived through and the crisis of the present days. For me, it has been profoundly emotional in my own experience and also as a witness to the suffering and struggle in Nepal. This fall, for the first season in 10 years, I will be in Nepal without a trekking group to determine the most effective way to move forward in our work at Changing Lives Nepal.

Many of you have contributed to the GoFundMe campaign to support village reconstruction for Mountain Madness staff in the Everest region. This has been an amazing way to provide immediate support to families who lost their homes, particularly in areas where there has been little to no outside support. Through Changing Lives Nepal, Nancy and I are continuing long-term programs with our NGO partners, Neel Shahi (TEAM Nepal President) & Parshu Dahal (Executive Director of SODEC). The rural areas where CLN has been working are struggling to meet basic needs and rebuild. Our plans for the future include sustainable building for homes and schools as well as economic strengthening, including growing organic Himalayan coffee. You can learn more about our intentions here and details are to come after the fall field visits are complete. Please consider setting up a recurring donation to support the long-term rebuilding in Nepal!

We hope this finds you and your families happy, healthy, and in abundance in the holidays!. 


Deana & Nancy
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Earthquake Relief in Sindhupalchowk

Neel’s village area, Sindhupalchowk, was one of the five most severely earthquake-affected districts.  We are relieved that the new Children’s Home survived intact and all of our kids are safe. However, more than 90% of homes were damaged or destroyed, and 14 out of 19 area schools were destroyed. Neel did not let a moment pass after Nepal’s devastating earthquake before he put his team and resources into action to provide emergency aid to his rural village area. TEAM Nepal focused on providing necessary supplies (food and water), temporary shelters, and medical support.

As one of TEAM Nepal’s largest supporters, CLN provided a $10,000 grant to Thangpaldhap village, where 115 people and 400 cattle were killed. Although people salvaged roofing tin and bamboo to create temporary shelters, they desperately needed food, toilets, and school classrooms. CLN’s grant provided food to more than 600 families and galvanized steel roofing sheets to build temporary school classrooms. With the goal of reducing disease and creating more hygienic and healthy living conditions prior to the monsoon season, we also provided 160 canvas toilet tents plus CGI sheeting for another 800 toilets. In all, CLN helped to support 1400 families with their homes, health, and children’s education.

TEAM Nepal’s current focus is on rebuilding using innovative design and locally-available materials. Partnering with a local natural building organization, TEAM Nepal plans to use rammed earth techniques to build a training school and two model single-family homes that will be donated to local widows with young children. Benefits include training local youth in sustainable building (giving them marketable skills), bringing innovative and affordable housing solutions to the area, and creating a tool library where people can “check out” the tools they need for reconstruction. More on this after the field visit later this month, but we are as excited as Neel is about the positive potential of this project!

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Coffee is the New Tea


Parshu’s village area, Sankhuwasabha, was further from the epicenter and therefore less affected, but still 25% of the 600 homes in his village were destroyed (plus another 50% cracked in some way) and 3 of 12 area schools were destroyed. Parshu came to the US this summer for an important Hindu rite with his brother’s family in Texas. While here, he attended a natural building conference to learn about new building techniques that could be used in Nepal and also attended a coffee training to help improve the new organic coffee industry. Farmers’ interest in organic cash crops is spreading, in part because people need cash to repair their homes and they do not believe they will receive much, if any, assistance from the government. 

The export tea industry in Nepal dates back over 100 years, but coffee is still quite a new crop in Nepal. Rural farmers have suitable land for coffee, but they lack technical knowledge about processing, storing, and packing in order to earn good income from the coffee. Current coffee producers, even large ones, are generally producing very low quality coffee because they don’t know how to control the processing appropriately, and shipments of Nepalese coffee have been rejected by international buyers due to problems with the quality. As CLN’s organic cash crop expert, Parshu believes coffee can be a powerful source of income for rural farmers, so we are working together to build specialty coffee production as a new industry in a rural eastern Nepal. 

Through CLN grants, 40 farmers have been organized and provided initial training in organic coffee nursery management, seedling plantation and bush management. Parshu has since been researching better coffee processing methods, and CLN sponsored him for a coffee training in Texas where he got first-hand knowledge and training on coffee production. His goal was to learn how to increase the quality of green (unroasted) beans for export from Nepal. What was his experience? What will he do next with coffee in Nepal?

Parshu says..."I realized that our Nepali green beans have more chaff whereas beans imported from Brazil and Columbia are shiny. Our sample also has broken and bug-eaten beans, which destroys taste. I learned skills for screening such defects, and now I have better ideas for drying, packing, and storing. I am going back to Nepal with basic materials such as moisture meter, sample Grainpro plastic, coffee processing videos and books. Proper knowledge of processing and experience here in Texas will greatly improve our export coffee in Nepal. I plan to work with our farmers to implement the methods I learned from my training. Definitely, our next lot of green beans will meet US standards!"

Summer Fundraising Events

Above and beyond all the amazing support for the GoFundMe campaign to help Mountain Madness staff rebuild their villages, Changing Lives Nepal had outstanding support this summer as donors and friends organized events to support reconstruction in Nepal…. 
Jilyan Perry, active member of the West Seattle community for 10 years and an experienced nonprofit fundraiser was inspired to hold a fundraiser because her fiancé, Stewart Wolfe, was Assistant Guide on the Mountain Madness Everest Base Camp trek when the earthquake struck. Local C&P Coffee Company eagerly donated their space for the event, and the community of Seattle came out to enjoy an afternoon of food, drinks, and a silent auction. The grand total raised was just shy of $5000! Read More  PHOTO: Jilyan & Stewart
In August, a local group artists and musicians from Truckee CA organized the Nepal Earthquake Benefit at Art Obsessions Gallery. Artwork inspired by Nepal's earthquake were auctioned live, along with an evening of great food, live music, and silent auction. Truckee raised over $4,500 for Changing Lives Nepal. More photos here
PHOTO: Renowned Tibetan scholar and former Buddhist monk, Venerable Losang Samten opened the Truckee event with a "prayer for Nepal". Background painting "Survivor," depicting the story of the miracle baby boy who survived for 22 hours in the earthquake rubble was auctioned as part of the fundraising.

St. Xavier High School, through the leadership of Ron and Michele Stegman, collected over $3,000 for Changing Lives Nepal earthquake relief efforts.

Former Peace Corps Volunteer, Anne Schoelwer, hosted a delightful Dal Bhat Relief Party in Cincinnati, where she cooked traditional Nepali food and raised $2,000!

Trekkers who met and fell in love in Nepal, Jason and Jenn Adelman, hosted a fundraiser at The Feve (their Oberlin, Ohio bar) and raised over $3,800!

Longtime supporters of Changing Lives Nepal, Alan and Alix Harter provided a matching grant through their company Pactolus Private Wealth Management, LLC. Their offer of a $10,000 match for CLN donations came days after April's earthquake. CLN met the match in August through the many personal donations inspired by the tragic earthquake and the generosity of the matching grant.

Welcome Jen to the CLN Team!
Out of adversity and struggle...compassion, joy, beauty, and generosity have also emerged. Jen Dudley and Erik Tappenbeck had decided to start their lives together while accomplishing their biggest personal goal -- they planned to be married at Mt. Everest Base Camp this spring. Unfortunately, the epic earthquake disrupted their plans. While waiting for a safe exit from Nepal and after helping to rapidly publicize the Go Fund Me campaign for Nepali trek staff whose homes were destroyed, Erik and Jen had the opportunity to continue with their wedding plans in a village mostly unaffected by the earthquake. At a monastery built high into the side of a cliff, a Buddhist monk married them, and a fellow trekker officiated as they spoke their vows at over 9,000 feet.  
Jen, who long dreamed of Nepal, is committing her time and energy to support the country and 
the people where her union with Erik was blessed and where she feels a deep connection. Jen is now a permanent member of CLN as our Administrative Volunteer, and we are thrilled by her energy, enthusiasm, and skills! Wedding Photos Courtesy of Charleton Churchill Photography
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Best Wishes for the New Year!
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