One year ago, at 11:56am local time, everything changed.
April 25's 7.8-Magnitude earthquake tore through Kathmandu Valley and turned our world upside down. On this symbolic anniversary of April 25, we invite you to join us in reflecting upon the year that has passed and the thousands of lives that were lost.
One year later, our community is still shaking. We have had hundreds and hundreds of earthquakes since that day.
One year later, our community is still strong. Because of everyone who supports and encourages CYF, we have been able to stay determined and optimistic throughout this challenging year. We are continually inspired by the resilience of the Nepali population, and together, we are infinitely stronger than the #NepalQuake.
If you were to fly to Kathmandu today, you would still see rubble on nearly every street corner. Major temples and UNESCO heritage sites remain unrepaired, solemn ghosts next to posters of their former selves, showing tourists what they used to look like. It won't take you long to spot a damaged building with huge cracks running top to bottom; unfortunately, it is hard to spot the cracked ones that were painted over in an attempt to look repaired, yet still suffer from dangerous internal damage and could collapse at any time. Camps of earthquake survivors living in tents are still scattered across the city. And, of course, the earthquakes themselves are still coming.
Nepal has had hundreds and hundreds of aftershocks and new earthquakes since April 25's. Today, it is still common to have ones roll through that are over 5.0-Magnitude. This becomes of higher concern during the upcoming rainy season, as earthquakes like this can cause landslides, as they did on a huge scale last spring. These ongoing tremors also add to the psychological damage of last April's quake, particularly because Nepal is still expecting "The Big One" - a seismologically overdue earthquake, possibly even higher than an 8.5. As CYF 6th grader Mingma Lama put it, "Nowadays the earthquakes will come sometimes, and we all feel scared." It's hard to tell what will happen next when the ground starts shaking, so this tumultuous pattern continues to keep us alert at all times.
While these rumbles have become routine, it is 11:56am on April 25 that is still engrained in countless minds. Anyone who was in the valley can tell you exactly where they were in that moment, and how the ground rolled like an ocean. Our kids at CYF frequently mention the time, 11:56, when they talk about their memories of the earthquake. That one moment is impossible to forget.
Immediately after that moment, people around the world jumped into action, responding to what had happened in Nepal. Ever since, our CYF team has been working every day to rebuild our community, stand by our neighbors, and put all of your donations to their best use.
After the first earthquake, we joined together with friends, family, neighbors and organizations under the CYF Collective, a collaborative group to provide organized and effective relief aid. We delivered trucks and trucks full of emergency supplies and blankets, set up temporary shelters and classrooms, and built toilets in destroyed villages. We also brought rescue helicopters to remote areas, and set up sewing centers to provide earthquake survivors with business opportunities.
In order to achieve sustainable, long-term recovery in Kathmandu Valley, we focused in on what we consider the most important part of society to protect and invest in: education. On April 26, 2015, over one million children in Nepal woke up without a classroom. We partnered up with a few government schools in the valley that had been destroyed, working together to completely restore them. Today, reconstruction is almost complete in the Shree Bagh Bairav school of Kaleswor, Lalitpur, and the Milan Primary School of Chyasingkharka, Kavrepalanchowk. Shree Bagh Bairav's reconstruction was funded through CYF by the fundraising initiatives of Alex Trulock from Alabama.
We also sustained significant damage at our own school, Life Vision Academy, where our dormitory was destroyed. We are now in the process of moving to a new location in Godavari, away from earthquake damage. When the first earthquake hit in April, our kids camped out on the basketball court for a few weeks, until we were able to put up three prefabricated houses as temporary and safe places to live. Putting a roof over our kids' heads was possible because of support from our friends, family and global community.
One of these houses was funded by the Dan Fredinburg Foundation, which was established to honor the life of Google executive, climate activist and life-loving adventurer Dan Fredinburg. Dan tragically lost his life at Mount Everest Base Camp when the earthquake caused a devastating avalanche. The DFF was founded by his family and friends to honor Dan's commitments to life, education, children in Nepal, social movements and outstanding passion for this world we live in. We are extremely honored to include Dan's legacy in our school through this safe home for our students.
To everyone out there in the CYF community and beyond, we thank you for standing with us on this terrifying day one year ago. We extend our condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one to the earthquakes, and we extend our support to everyone who is still recovering. And we thank you, everyone in our worldwide CYF family, for sending us your support and hope in all of the days that followed, and for getting us through this challenging year.
If you'd like to make a commemorative impact today, please sign our pledge of remembrance or donate to our ongoing earthquake relief fund. All donations will go directly towards rebuilding schools across the Kathmandu Valley.