Eight Wexford trekkers escaped with their lives when they were caught up in the devastating Nepal earthquake last year and in an effort to give something back, they raised €191,118.72 for its victims.
Following several large fundraisers including a concert in the National Opera House and a Midsummer’s Night Ball in Whites, the group donated the money to Trócaire, who pumped it back in to rebuilding Kathmandu. They soon got people from across the county on board and according to one of the eight trekkers Joan Etchingham, it was their generosity and goodwill that made the fundraising initiative as successful as it was.
‘We were completely blown away by the generosity of individuals, groups and businesses in Wexford,’ she said. ‘Everyone was overwhelmed with the amount of support from everyone in Wexford. They did everything, from giving us a fiver to putting on an event to donating their money from birthday parties. We couldn’t have done a fraction of it without their support.’
Concerts, sponsored walks, cake sales, garden parties and church collections were just some of the events that took place over the course of almost three months.
‘It took on a life of its own,’ said Joan. ‘Everyone just went hell for leather when they were hearing about the earthquake on the news. It took us a while to realise how much we had raised and it was only when it all came together that we realised how much of a success it was.’
The eight Wexford trekkers caught up in the quake, which killed more than 8,500 people and made hundreds of thousands homeless, were: Catherine Jordan, Mary Moran, John Nolan, Jimmy Morrissey, Fr. Tom Dalton, Jim McGillicuddy, Ger Colfer and Joan Etchingham.
On witnessing the devastation that occurred all around them, from which they escaped unharmed, they decided they needed to help.
‘We experienced extreme kindness and help from local people in Nepal,’ said Joan. ‘We wanted to repay the kindness that they had shown us.’
The money that the group raised has gone towards building wells for clean water, supplying tents for shelter and providing food, among other things.
The eight trekkers are considering returning to Nepal next year to see first hand where all of the money from Wexford has gone.
‘We would obviously be paying for it ourselves. All of the money has gone to the charity,’ stressed Joan. ‘We would like to go back and see how things are going.’
(First published in the New Ross Standard newspaper: print edition. Also available online at: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/newrossstandard/news/wexford-group-raise-an-incredible-191118-for-nepal-victims-34875338.html)