Mountains of Relief momentum continues

When Mountains of Relief set out to organize a musical event the Jasper Legion, they did so with two goals in mind.

The first was to raise money for the development of a school in the community of Lisakhani, Nepal, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 2015. The second was to bring the community of Jasper together for a night of music and celebration.

“Music is happiness. It’s getting together, having fun, dancing. Happiness is the plan of the project,” said Raj Ghimire, a coordinator of Mountains of Relief and a Nepali ex-pat.   

On the night of June 15, Mountains of Relief’s Music for Good event put that plan into action. It was an evening of live local music and dancing, featuring an art auction and a 50/50 draw. The event pulled in $2,275 which, coupled with the over $6,000 raised by the Mountains of Relief garage sale June 11 and 12, will contribute to  achieving the foundation’s goals.

“We feel that is a huge amount,” said Ghimire. “We found that people who donated at the garage sale donated again at the musical event, which is amazing. This community is always here for us.”

Since 2015, Mountains of Relief has raised enough money to successfully rebuild the structure of the school. Until then, the children that still came to school after the earthquake had been forced to attend class outside, often in cold weather and wearing improper clothing.

“Before the earthquake hit, there were 86 kids going to the school,” said Sherrill Meropoulis, another coordinator of the foundation. “There is only a fraction of that number going now because there’s been no school for two years. They’ve been outside. And they’ve been walking up to two hours in one direction to go to school.”

Though the structure of the school has been completed, the project still has a long way to go. Mountains of Relief plans to support the school and its students by funding a science lab, a small library, a garden and school uniforms (which are mandatory in Nepal). However, even building toilets has to be budgeted for.

“We’ve got a wish list,” said Meropoulis. “It includes the garden, it includes resources for books. Anyone willing to take on a project like that would really help these kids to get on with their education sooner.”

Mountains of Relief is seeking volunteers to fundraise for specific portions of the project’s budget.

Mountains of Relief has more fundraising events to watch out for this summer. Currently, pieces of fine art are being collected for an auction called H’art for Nepal, (date TBA). Coordinators are also in search of a local registered charity that would be willing to raffle off a handmade quilt by Jasperite Theresa Seifert (Mountains of Relief is not a registered charity). If anyone knows of or is a part of a charity who would be willing to take this on, they should contact Sherrill at seldomin@hotmail.com.

“Thank you to all the people who’ve contributed their time, their money, their ideas, and their support, because collectively we’ve been able to achieve a great benefit for the children of Lisakhani,” Meropoulis said.

Megan Warren //

megan@thejasperlocal.com

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