Current By-Donation Classes:
• TUESDAYS AT NOON
• SUNDAYS AT 4PM
• TSUM VALLEY RELIEF, NEPAL
One of the beloved and adventuresome members of our YogaSpace Family, yoga teacher Sharona Fein, was on a month long trek in a remote mountain area of Nepal called the Tsum Valley when the earthquake hit on 4/25 that devastated Katmandu and surrounding areas.
For many days we did not know whether her group had survived. We are relieved to learn that they were shaken but unharmed in the valley where they were immersing themselves in the century old ways of traditional Buddhist culture and magnificent scenery. Even as homes were destroyed, aftershocks continued, and access out of the valley block by landslides, the people of the Tsum valley helped feed, shelter and support Sharona’s group while they we waiting to be “rescued” by helicopter. The group was eventually airlifted out of the valley and back to Katmandu where they witnesses unfathomable devastation.
While large relief organizations have mobilized to send money and supplies to Nepal, we’ve learned that the Nepalese government is commandeering all relief funds, and will have control over how funds are used. Support will likely never make it to a remote place like the Tsum valley which is not high on the list of priorities.
For this reason, and because Sharona has a direct contact on the ground who is a leader in the valley and whom she trusts, funds from our by-donation class will go directly to bring aide to the people of the Tsum Valley, all of which needs to be brought in by helicopter - not an easy or task, given the treacherous mountain terrain and monsoon season coming.
Please read Sharona’s letter and plea below for immediate assistance for the families of the Tsum Valley. Together we can make a targeted and marked difference in the peoples lives who touched Sharona’s heart with their generosity and compassion, despite tenuous circumstances. Truly, yoga in action.
Please consider giving what feels right and generous for you. YogaSpace has already sent immediate relief funds to Sharona on your behalf and will continue to do so throughout the coming months based on your donations.
Thanks you for your kindness and support!
~ Gloria, Heather and Saeeda
A LETTER FROM SHARONA:
Hello! My name is Sharona Fein. On April 25, when the 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, I was part of a group of people visiting the sacred and remote Tsum Valley, dedicated to offering service, however it showed up. We could not imagine what the Universe had in store for us and our commitment, nor how that commitment has gone from our personal desires to a global effort.
The Tsum Valley has only been open to trekkers since 2008, and maintains a traditional Tibetan Buddhist rural lifestyle that is truly unique.
We were very fortunate to be in the wide part of the Valley between villages when the earthquake struck, and watched huge boulders rolling down the surrounding Himalayan peaks. Thankfully, no one among us was injured. The villages and villagers we visited, however, were not so lucky. Generations old houses collapsed, driving villagers into impromptu tent villages.
Even so, with their deep value of hospitality, the locals looked after us, fed us, provided shelter and helped us communicate with agencies that could get us out. Their unwavering generosity and heartfelt care was incredibly humbling, especially considering their situation. Now we wish to respond in kind.
There are no roads to the Tsum Valley, the only way in is up a narrow mountain foot path, only traversed by people and donkeys. Landslides, rockfall, fallen bridges and other damage have closed that single access. The people have no way to get much needed emergency supplies except what can be delivered by commercial helicopter. Not an inexpensive ordeal.
Two villages in the valley, Ripche and Chhokangparo, are requiring food and shelter URGENTLY. With monsoon season about to start they need decent tents to sleep in until they can rebuild. Current food supplies may not last more than a week or two. There are approximately 50 extended families within these two villages. We estimate that to provide for their immediate needs of shelter and rice for a month the cost will be around $350 per family. Our goal, therefore, is to raise around $17500 to start.
Besides food and shelter, we will also be focussing on water and sanitation. Aid is coming into Nepal but due to the remoteness of this valley very little has found its way there. We experienced firsthand the difficulty in getting rescue helicopters due to competing commercial interests and other government priorities. When helicopters eventually came, it was difficult to make sure they were arriving with relief supplies.
After the quake we were hosted by a local man, Dhawa Gyanjen Tsumba, at his guesthouse. He is incredibly generous and passionate about this valley, his home, and has in-depth knowledge about its needs. He also has good connections and the ability to get things done. He is committed to ensuring aid reaches Tsum.
In order to be certain funds reach this particular need, I will personally be accepting funds and transferring them from my account directly to Dhawa's. 2 members of our group are staying in Nepal to document what comes in, exactly how it is spent, and to assist with distribution. Although a bit firsthand and awkward, the Nepalese government is currently in a campaign of commandeering funds for its own priorities, which don't necessarily coincide with ours, so each of us in the Sacred Dance group is making the same arrangement for their friends and countrymen. (We are from 9 different countries altogether.)
Thank you, if you wish to contribute. I will be updating the Tsum Valley Urgent Relief Facebook Page with our progress. You may send your donation to my paypal account @ firstname.lastname@example.org, or email me at the same address for a mailing address if you wish to send a check.
I will be writing more about Tsum in the weeks and months to come, but the URGENT NEED is NOW. Thank you for your Love and Support.
MAY 13, 2015 UPDATE:
Namaste! Are you ready for some good news?
We are very happy to let you all know that we got notification from Dhawa (Sharona's friend and organizer in Nepal, shown to the below) who just supplied 650 families in the lower Tsum valley with 30 kilos of rice!!! We were able to get a HUGE helicopter from the Nepali military for the day as you can see from the pictures.
Thank you ALL for your generous contributions and for making this possible. You've helped to make a lot of people very happy.
We thank you again for your support. This is just phase 1 and there's still much to be done. The people in the valley have been assured that tents and other supplies are on the way. We will keep you posted as the events unfold. Many blessings to you all!
JULY 2015 UPDATE:
Regarding Tsum Valley support for Nepal, Sharona said that she has bowed out of being the intermediary now that the initial need for relief supplies is complete. She send a BIG THANK YOU to all of her YogaSpace friends for your support!
There is a now new website set up by the relief coordinators to consolidate funds and news for that area of Nepal. Shaonra's friends are now working with local authorities, engineers and grass roots support to further plans to repair the foot trail & bridges which are the lifeline to the remote areas like the Tsum Valley. There is some remarkable video about the condition of the trail here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=49&v=P1uUr1cJ4cg) The teams are also looking at how to build better earthquake resistant structures in the future and repair monasteries and sacred sites which are so integral to the deep-rooted Buddhist faith of the area.
Ther is now a indiegogo site to make donations easy and where the team has been posting updates and pictures about their work. See the progress of their work and make dontation directly at: https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/tsum-nubri-relief-recovery-program
YogaSpace is proud to continue to support these efforts thru the end of 2015. The donations from our two-by donation classes each week will be traveling half way around the world to support those in need.
PHOTOS: A survey team traverses a river where a bridge has been destroyed / A rebuilding ream at work