It’s not every day that you get an unsolicited and anonymous check for $50,000—especially when that check is for expanding the good works you’ve been doing in earthquake-ravaged Nepal.
But that’s exactly what happened recently at Journeys International, a family-owned adventure tour operator based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Journeys got its start 37 years ago running trips to Nepal, so when the earthquake hit, their team immediately began asking for donations to support on-the-ground relief efforts through their Nepal office.
Health camp set up by Journeys Nepal and local partners. (Photo: Journeys Nepal)
The company has been receiving funds through their non-profit arm and distributing them to their longtime local guide, Narayan Kumar Shrestha, who runs Journeys Nepal. Immediately after the quake, he set aside his usual tour guide duties and put his extensive knowledge of Nepal to work, buying and distributing supplies to devastated rural villages.
Prior to receiving the grant, Journeys had raised $25,000, and Shrestha used those funds to set up temporary clinics, purchase tarps and mattresses for those that lost their homes, and provide food and clean drinking water to the villages. He wrote on social media: “I cry when I see these places, where houses are gone and families are dead. But I am so happy [that] I am able to help some victims.
Distributing blankets and supplies to villagers in Khokana, Lalitpur. (Journeys Nepal)
Wherever I go to help it gives me peace. My family is helping me, and my wife and daughter are encouraging me to continue this relief work.”Journeys made regular mention of Shrestha’s work on their own social media and blog, as well as in e-newsletters to their clients. Then, a week later, the mail came with a very special—and completely unexpected—gift.
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“My jaw actually dropped when I opened the envelope,” said Journeys President Robin Weber Pollak. “The generosity represented in this one $50,000 check triples the impact we can deliver on the ground. It multiplies our resources to alleviate acute need in the Nepalese communities that have welcomed our travelers for so many years.”
The gift came via The Peat Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation and will be used first to help the Nepalese people who are still without basic shelter, food and water, then energy will shift to rebuilding schools and community buildings.
How you can help: Make a donation to Earth Preservation Fund and consider taking a trip to Nepal in 2016 to help rebuild their tourism economy.
Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.