Today’s story in the Democrat and Chronicle evokes a visceral sadness. That the Nepali refugee Khada Khatel was attacked by several young black men is especially disheartening. That he would be left semi-conscious and lost in a wooded area I walk and bike past brings the horror home.
The best I can do right now is reprint two stories, From Rochester to Nepal with Love and Looking at refugees not as a technical problem but as human experience about Rochesterians who have commited themselves to helping refugees and building bridges between Rochester and Nepal. We can do something.
I am also reminded of the sticker Lisa Jacques recently placed on the door of her Monroe Avenue pet store: Refugees Welcome
• August 17, 2015
I have known Lynda Howland, a retired social worker, most of my life. D & C Letter-to-the-Editor readers know her well for her eloquent and passionate social commentary. When Lynda asked me to publicize the plight of earthquake victims in Nepal — and what you can do to help — I more than readily agreed. I know many Nepali students in the RCSD–especially at the Rochester International Academy–and helping their people back home strengthens my warm bond.Lynda and Carole Schaub, of Perinton and sojourner to over 100 countries, have spent their adult lives traveling the world. With that comes a persistent guilt “first world” visitors often feel in “third world” nations. Over the years, the two have assuaged their guilt by providing supplies and donations to individuals, schools, orphanages, and clinics, primarily in Africa and Asia.
Carole purchased nets for a fisherman in Kenya whose wore out. Lynda has a school named for her in Uganda, The Lynda Caring Nursery School–aptly called–that she continues to support. Lynda, with friend Sid Rozenzweig (Dryden Theater goers know well Sid’s witty film intros) financed master degrees for a woman in Uganda and a man in Tanzania, and are funding a two-year college degree for a Syrian refugee girl who fled to Turkey. Lynda has also financed shipments of medical supplies and books to Africa. One of her adopted schools was, for a time, a sister school with one in Pittsford. Lynda is proud to have named the two children of her guide in West Papua, and has two children of friends named after her. Carole provided financial and emotional support to a young man in China.Lynda once brought supplies to Cuba: toothpaste, brushes and medicine, as well as baseballs and softballs I gladly contributed. Both kind hearted globetrotters have made many overseas friendships that have lasted for decades.
In April 2015 an earthquake (magnitude 7.8) killed more than 9,000 people in Nepal. Tens of thousands were injured and hundreds of thousands where made homeless when entire villages were flattened. Here I’ll let Lynda tell the story:
Carole and I have traveled to Nepal several times. A number of years ago Carole hired a trekking guide named Pasang Chiring with whom she has continued an email friendship. Pasang and family reside in Charikharka in northern Nepal. The epicenter of a second earthquake (mag. 7.3) was located in the village — which was destroyed. Since April, financial aid has been slow to arrive, and often isolated villages are left to fend for themselves. Pasang recently wrote: “In my village the things are same as after earthquake. Some people are going to rebuild their houses and some are not. My house is same as after earthquake broke and we are still sleeping in Tents. Everybody says that our government didn’t give anything. I know that lots of foreign people want to help Nepal for rebuilt but we didn’t get nothing.”
Here is how you can help.
In October, Lynda and Carole will travel to Chaurikharka to meet with Pasang and provide money to rebuild his home and that of as many other villagers as they can. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world; the wealth distribution starts at zero with many people living only off the land. In a country where manual laborers make $1.50 or less a day, imagine what even a dollar can do.
As Lynda and Carole are not representative of any government — just citizens of the world — 100% of donations will go directly to Pasang and, hopefully, to other families and schools in Chaurikharka. As Lynda says, “We cannot help everyone in need, but at least we can help one or two. We will report back in full on where the donations went.”
Contact Lynda Howland
71 Brook Rd.
Pittsford, NY 14534
(585) 381 7420
Looking at refugees not as a technical problem but as a human experience
This week my good friends Judy Bello and Lynda Howland spoke at a dinner at SUNY Geneseo to raise awareness and funds for Syrian refugees. Below is their account both of the trip and the work done on college campuses by Peace Action New York State to help us see Syrian and all refugees not as a technical problem but as a human experience.As a college teacher working with students at Keuka and Nazareth, I–like Judy and Lynda–do not at all view these young people as naive idealists whose commitment will end at graduation. Many of them, like Judy and Lynda, will become lifetime activists for social justice.