Students raise money for Nepal relief efforts

The earthquake in Nepal that has left a death toll of more than 6,000 in its wake is heartbreaking enough. The sadness continues to mount, however, as reports of the devastation and unmet needs of survivors continue to surface. And Missouri is not as far removed from the tragedy as some might think; about 75 students from Nepal are enrolled at Southeast Missouri State University.

According to The Associated Press, Nepal is desperate for assistance, and frustration is intensifying. "Nobody has come here to help us. No government, no police, no aid," said Badri Giri, a 71-year-old villager.

Sitting atop a mound of debris that used to be her home, while embracing a young girl, Sunita Shrestha echoed Giri's words. She lamented, "No one has come to help us yet. I don't know if they ever will."

SEMO Nepalese students are working to change that. On Thursday night, they hosted Help for Nepal at Centenary Church in Cape, a fundraiser dinner to provide support to their homeland. The Nepalese Student Association served traditional Nepalese food and highlighted the country before and after the earthquake, charging $10 per person. Students also have conducted a bake sale, raising $500.

The association will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the International Medical Corps for earthquake relief efforts. WDAM reports that the association sold 250 tickets and that between the dinner and the bake sale, they raised almost $4,000 -- double their goal.

These young people are safe here in America, pursuing their education and laying the groundwork for their future, but they are not forgetting where they came from. We encourage you follow their lead. The dinner and bake sale are over, but the efforts continue.

"I think our next step is going out in the community," Tripti Shakya, a Southeast nursing student from Nepal told the Southeast Missourian's Katie Lamb. They plan to stand outside local businesses and request donations, she said.

Contact the Nepalese Student Association at 573-986-6751 for information about how you can join your efforts with theirs to help ease the suffering in Nepal.