011 – Jasper – Kathmandu

ARTIST – KIRAN TAMANG
PHOTOGRAPHY – MITCH WARD
INTERVIEW – ANSHU PANDEY

JasperHands

Jasper Neupane lives in Kathmandu and has been running a grassroots action group, One Youth, for several years.

“The day of the earthquake I was actually vacuuming my room, suddenly the power went off and the earthquake hit. I had experienced an earthquake 3 years before so I knew what to do. There was a big space where we gathered outside, no houses had been built, thank god. Then came the 2nd earthquake. Somebody came and told me that a house had fallen down 3 doors down from ours. News began to spread that Terera, a huge tower, one of our national treasures, had fallen down, that was a big shock.

“Telephones were shut down and we couldn’t contact anybody. We had 40 Gallons of water in the house and immediately my father distributed this to everybody. For one week I did not know what I could do to help.

“After a week we were sleeping in the field. Everybody was leaving the valley because there was a rumor that an earthquake much bigger than the one that had happened was coming. I started to worry and so I went to the store and began to buy up all the supplies that I might need for a week. I bought Chura (beaten rice) and soya beans, I went on to but medicine and other things.

“After 10 days the Internet came back on and I was able to contact my team. We checked and we were all safe. We wanted to help. What about the people whose food supplies were cut off, One youth had no money, we were not registered. We met here in this café. We decided we should reach out and beg for money to help. We applied to help from 20 organizations per day. In 3 days we collected nearly 1,500,000 Rupees worth of goods and booked a truck to take us to Bistadeorali, a village out in Kavrepalanchowk district, with food like rice and salt, dry foods, we were thinking of food that would store, salt, oil, rice, and of course medicine. Actually it was really fun – even though conditions were tough, we kept our spirits high. We kept on like, this, going out to villages and delivering supplies, for over a month.

“One Youth is now a registered NGO. We have been collecting books, fundraising, giving motivational speeches, and hopefully things are going forward to success

“Looking back, the year was completely inspirational to me. I know that people will see what they have seen as a sad moment, but I see it actually as an inspirational moment. Because the earthquake occurred and it gave me all the courage that I needed. I could find myself. I could find that helping others could really be the satisfaction. The oasis that we have all been looking for.”