Jay Tamang, a longtime clerk at Whole Foods Market on East Blithedale, left his native Nepal in 2004 after years spent earning $2/day as a trekking guide in Katmandu, eventually moving to the United States with his wife Biba and their two young children.

Though Tamang has been in the U.S. for more than a decade, his home country has never been far from his mind. In 2009, he established Nepal FREED (Foundation for Rural Educational & Economic Development), which raises money to build schools in the remote villages of Nepal. With the help of his then fellow Park School parents, Nepal FREED has built a school in lower Bhalche, a library in nearby Kahule and paid for teachers to educate children at both facilities.

It’s safe to say that the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal on April 25 sent Tamang and his family reeling. 

“The area around my village of Bhalche and Biba’s village of Manegau was essentially destroyed by the first earthquake, as they were close to the epicenter,” he says. “More than 90 percent of the homes and buildings were reduced to ruins, as they are simple structures built with stones and mud (including his childhood home).”

And while the death toll has risen above 7,000, Tamang says its occurrence during the day prevented it from being markedly higher, because “so many villagers were working in their fields. It would have been unimaginable.”

Tamang’s parents are alive and sleeping in a tent in Kathmandu, where they were staying at the time of the quake. His brothers are alive as well. He suspects that three of his cousins have lost their lives, and his aunt is critically injured. 

“Please keep our families and all of the people of Nepal in your thoughts and prayers,” he says.

As you probably know, in 2009 I founded Nepal FREED (Nepal Foundation for Rural Economic and Educational Development).  The purpose of FREED was to promote education in rural areas.  Since that time, with the help of partners from all over the world, FREED has built eight classrooms in rural villages and hired teachers to educate some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.  We are particularly proud of our efforts to educate young women. It is unclear if the classrooms are standing today. Some of them were built with stones, in the traditional manner, and others were built with steel poles and cement.  

Tamang’s latest goal for Nepal FREED’s goal is to raise $50,000 to not only rebuilt damaged classrooms one day in the future, but to also to deliver immediate relief to the rural poor in the villages of Central Nepal in the forms of shelter, food and medicine.  

“International aid organizations have focused their efforts on the urban centers, such as the Kathmandu Valley,” he says. “The government does not have the resources or will to direct aid to rural areas. That is where FREED can step in. If you choose to help the people of rural Nepal through a donation to FREED, be assured that it will go directly to those devastated by this earthquake. There are no paid administrators at Nepal FREED and never have been.”

Contributions to Nepal FREED are tax deductible.

Donations to Nepal FREED are sponsored by The Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization located in Northern California. If you would like to help the villagers of Central Nepal, you can contribute online to FREED’s earthquake relief campaign. You can also make out your tax deductible check to Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation and write Nepal FREED in the memo line. You can send the checks to Tamang’s address:

10 Park Ave.
Apt 3
Mill Valley, CA, 94941

Or you can mail checks directly to:

Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation
PO Box 1369
Sausalito, CA 94966

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