At the moment we are focussing our efforts in the Kedar Valley in and around Guptkashi. We have identified three villages in the area where we will be working long term in partnership with local organisations.
Two teams of volunteers have gone and come back from the affected areas and now we have a better sense of what is needed on the ground. While the first group identified local organisations with whom we can possibly work and made some cash donation to the widows who were affected by the disaster.
The second ground has come out with some concrete plans on what needs to happen now. Their assessment is that relief material has reached most of the villages. People are also getting compensation for damages and loss of lives. But the important question staring all of them is around their livelihoods. The area was heavily dependent on tourist inflows en-route to Yatra. Lot of male members were also employed at the Kedarnath temple. Now with all of that gone there are very few means of livelihoods. One area that our volunteers tried to explore was to set up knitting and tailoring center for the women. As a start they have provided some wool and cloth to the women and have asked them to come out with what ever they can. So as we speak three centers are already running in these villages. Our idea is that if there is interest then we can provide training to make the products market ready and sell them. This will mean some ways of earning for the women and increased confidence in their ability to deal with the tragedy. Other areas of livelihoods explored were apple and malta processing, rajmah tweed from sheep wool.
The locals have also requested to organize training around disaster relief. According to them disasters of varying scales keep striking the area and it will be extremely helpful if local youth can be trained in disaster management. Our team will be exploring this area was well.
Another possible area of intervention is education where we can work with children who are affected in the disaster. We are exploring how we can work our partner organisation SNC and extend our support to the same.
Our next steps are now to start working on each of these areas.
Updates on fundraising:
Our current appeal of fundraising is still on. So far we have raised 22 lacs of Rupees and a commitment of another 30 lacs.
As I write this update a truck load of relief supply material is already on its way courtesy Hyatt Hotels mumbai to Guptkashi.