Earthquake in Nepal touches Campus Community

By Costa Maragos Posted: April 27, 2015 2:30 p.m.

Arjun Lamichhane worries about his family in Nepal, now homeless following the devastating earthquake.
Arjun Lamichhane worries about his family in Nepal, now homeless following the devastating earthquake. Photo: External Relations.

The deadly earthquake in Nepal has touched the lives of people at the University of Regina – some in a very personal way.

Arjun Lamichhane is from the remote Gorgkha District of Nepal. His family members have survived but they are now without a home.

The quake was a magnitude of 7.8, and the official death toll Monday was more than 4,000 – but that number was changing by the hour.
“Ninety per cent of the houses in our village are gone. People are just living outside the house under a common tent,” says Lamichhane, who is currently doing his Masters thesis in Education from the U of R. He’s currently employed as a youth worker at Ranch Ehrlo Society in Regina.
“I was relieved to hear my family is fine, but now the question is: when will they get help? The relief efforts right now are focused on Kathmandu, so it might take awhile for help to come to our village and our district,” explains Lamichhane.

Lamichhane taught high school in Nepal for eight years and was a college lecturer for four years before making the move to Canada in 2011. He brought his young family to Saskatchewan in 2012.

Within hours of the earthquake striking, he scrambled to get some of his own money and donations wired back home.

“This is money not just for my family but for everybody in the village. We are one big family and right now the need is great. This money is to buy food and to survive until help arrives,” says Lamichhane.

Lamichhane received help from U of R Education student Rubina Khanam. She collected donations from friends and fellow students over the weekend with the money going to help victims in Lamichhane’s village in Nepal.

Khanam’s family is in nearby Dhaka, Bangladesh, where aftershocks have damaged buildings and people are on edge.

“I am scared about my country, about Dhaka,” says Khanam, who is working on her PhD in Education at the University of Regina.

“Our building infrastructure is really poor, and thousands of people are at risk.”

Khanam is returning to Bangladesh in May to continue her PhD research, collecting government documents on English language planning and policy.

As well, Sarah Abbott, Associate Professor in the U of R’s Department of Film, is asking the campus community to help the Foundation Karuna Shechen, a monastery that runs humanitarian projects throughout the Himalayas. For the next 30 days, donations they receive will go straight to the victims of the earthquake.

Abbott spent some of her last sabbatical in Kathmandu.

“I know a number of people who live and/or have study or work connections in Nepal,” says Abbott. “The suffering of the people, the destruction of Nepal’s already compromised infrastructure and the loss of important spiritual and world heritage sites is devastating.”

For those wishing to donate to the monastery please visit here.