|Bodhanath Stupa in happier days|
Many many of Rinpoche's friends, students, teachers and colleagues are living in Nepal. Rinpoche's family's home is close to the Bodhanath Stupa, his brother, R. D. Salga has a thanka painting studio there, Salga's work is unique and very precious, his training was at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, beginning at a very young age, and he is recognised as a master of his craft and has exquisitely decorated many shrinerooms and gompas in Nepal and Sikkim, including BMC.
The Bodhanath stupa was also damaged in the earthquake, as well as the Sechen Monastery nearby, and because aftershocks may cause buildings that remain standing to collapse, people must live and sleep outside, it has rained heavily, and the overnight temperature is not yet warm. The Nepalese infrastructure, which was already hopelessly inadequate is not supporting the current needs, many roads outside Kathmandu are impassible, and so many of the outlying hilly areas closer to the epicentre of the quake are unreachable. As hill villages are located by helicopter they are found to be flattened, and countless more lives are known to be lost. Foodstocks are in short supply, water is running out, there is no electricity and the monsoon is coming, landslides expected, disease will spread quickly.
There are several organisations working to help who are already based in Nepal and connected to monasteries and Tibetan communities, many of which have also suffered massive damage. These organisations generally do not have massive overheads, and ensure that any money donated will go direct to where it is needed most. So if you would like to make a difference, donating money direct is the best way, but make sure you do the research and go through well established charities as there will be many money-making opportunists.
This well thought through article by Clare Bennett in the UK Guardian is worth reading.
Check out the following links for Buddhist organisations within Nepal who are working to help and accepting donations.
If you can recommend further authentic contacts that would be useful please get in touch and we'll post here.