Donations for Nepal earthquake relief came in a range of sizes today, from coins and $1 bills to checks for more than $100. Together team members at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) raised $3,381.42 in six hours and delivered the funds to the local Red Cross office before the close of business today.
Diwa Koirala, Sabina Ranjit and Bishwas Shrestha are UTHSC graduate research assistants who are all from Nepal. Today, they spent six hours in the UTHSC General Education Building thanking contributors and sharing the news they were hearing firsthand from their family members in their home country.
Sabina Ranjit and Bishwas Shrestha were born in Nepal and are students at UTHSC.
A petite, soft-spoken young woman, Ranjit usually spends her days focused on Pharmaceutical Sciences since she is a first-year PhD student in the UTHSC College of Pharmacy. Since learning of the earthquake, a magnitude 7.8 that hit Nepal on Saturday, April 25, Ranjit has been spending lots of time checking on her family and working with others from her homeland to encourage relief efforts.
Koirala, a third-year PhD student also focused on Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy, echoed Ranjit’s sentiments. “We are doing everything we can to keep in even closer touch with our families. We also want to thank the university community for everything they are doing to support the people of Nepal at this intensely difficult time. Every contribution really helps.”
“A friend and fellow Nepal citizen called me at 2 o’clock on Saturday night to tell me about the earthquake,” said Shrestha, a trim, eloquent young man who is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry. It took him several hours to get through on the phone lines but he eventually reached his family and was relieved to find they were unharmed. But in a disaster that is affecting some 8 million people, about a third of the country’s roughly 28 million inhabitants, loss is only a few degrees of separation away.
“My family is living outside now because there was some damage to our house,” Shrestha said, “but a friend of mine who was just engaged to be married died when one of the buildings, a UNESCO World Heritage site, collapsed.”
“We’d like to thank all the UTHSC team members who made the time to donate to this important cause,” said UTHSC Chancellor Steve J. Schwab. “With the death toll continuing to climb, now above 5,200, and many villages being difficult to access because of blocked roadways, there is still so much more to do. But we know the Red Cross will combine our donation with many others to make a tangible, positive difference in this catastrophic situation. Thank you for taking the time to give.”