Nepal – how can I help?

When natural disasters strike, we’re often left feeling a bit overwhelmed by the scale of the destruction and the number of people affected.

Turning on the news, we quickly realise how much need there is for the basics – water, food, blankets and medicine. Where do we start to help the many hundreds of homeless, displaced and grieving families?

Following on from the back to back earthquakes in Nepal, we look at some of the most effective ways of helping those most in need.

Give to a charity

It’s important to consider the most vulnerable groups after a natural disaster. Save the Children (www.savethechildren.org) UNICEF (www.unicef.org) and World Vision (www.worldvision.org) are three major charities that focus on helping children living in poverty around the world. As Nepal starts to pick up the pieces after both earthquakes, these charities turn their attention to providing aid packs to the neediest children.

Fundraise

This is an excellent way of raising a significant amount of money in a fun way. If you’re good at music, or in a band, why not put on a show and raise money from the ticket sales? Speak with your family and friends about where you could hold a concert, and who you could contact to get the ball rolling. Alternatively you could run a half marathon, do a 24-hour dance-a-thon, or shave all your hair off. Whatever you decide to do, be creative and seek advice before you get the razor out. A good place to start is UK Fundraising (www.fundraising.co.uk).

Use social media

Websites such as Go Fund Me (www.gofundme.com) and You Caring (www.youcaring.com) are both great ways to spread the word of your fundraising endeavours, and also provides donators a secure place to give safely. Link to these on your Facebook and Twitter pages, and watch what happens! Often people who’ve never met will donate to you, and you might end up with a much larger final amount than you set out to reach.

Contact local media

The newspapers in your area are always on the lookout for encouraging “local interest” stories of people doing something a bit unusual or extreme to raise money for charity. Not only will they benefit from this, but appearing in your local paper only helps your campaign raise funds and further awareness. Sometimes, the national media pick up on social media and local stories, so be prepared for getting emails from journalists at the likes of the BBC!

Contact your MSP

If you feel really strongly about helping victims of a natural disaster, get in touch with your local councillors and MSPs asking them what work they are involved in to help, and to promote your campaign. One of the best ways is to visit Write To Them (www.writetothem.com) where you can enter your postcode. Use their guide (www.writetothem.com) to help you do this.

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