Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sometimes You Can Help More if You Don't Dip Into Your Own Pocket

Yes, we have a donation link fairly prominently displayed on our websites and most of our social media. I’m not saying getting a pledge or notice from Paypal that we have money isn’t wonderful. It is and we appreciate that kind of thing so much. In fact, a kind supporter in New Zealand wrote an article for an online journal and got it published. She sent us the entire amount as a donation, so wonderful. But what's more remarkable about Kerensa is that she has put us in contact with other kind hearted people who came to help us and sent us money. We are so grateful.

But so many people do not have $50-100 to donate to a random NGO in a developing nation where the money will never be returned to them in any form of good, other than supporting a random NGO. You may be surprised to learn there is little to no oversight into the spending practices of NGO’s in Nepal, as I’m sure is true elsewhere. I’ve seen many examples of people donating money or clothing and it all goes only to the social worker’s family. The ‘orphan’ children never see a nice clean jacket; who wants to send money to kids who are clean, well-fed and educated? No, dirty, underweight kids will do the trick. 

Whether it be famine, war, earthquake or hurricane, the poor are always disproportionately affected. Nepal is no exception and after the earthquakes hit in 2015 and then subsequently, the embargo from India, the Nepali have been through a lot. What to do to help? 

It is our wish that you support the Nepal Handcraft and artists that work in the old, traditional styles. By this, I mean to ask you to change your shopping habits a bit and buy directly from Nepali or other indigenous merchants. 

Tibetan refugee making carpet
Many years ago, I remember seeing a beautiful, hand-carved wooden statue so detailed it’s still vivid in my mind. As the merchant explained, the artist traveled all the way from Ivory Coast to South Africa by walking and sleeping on the road for several months.  Even after all that workmanship and effort the piece was hardly $200 in the small retail store in SE Florida.

Our agency, Kay Garnay for Nepal, has begun a computer class to teach the Changunarayan villagers how to make affiliate marketing websites through our account at Wealthy Affiliate. This is a platform that teaches this skill in just a month or so and the students will be able to earn extra money, depending on the support of their website visitors. Incidentally, Kay Garnay means ‘What to do?’ and that is exactly our mission to find things to do to help Nepal, particularly our village. 

So far, we have been marketing thanka art and hand-carved wooden masks for over 4 years. I’m proud to say we have not had an unresolved complaint--people have been more than kind, but we also work to satisfy our customers within their timeline. 

I’d love for you to purchase a thanka from our website if that kind of d├ęcor is of your liking. If not, there is the Tibetan Carpet Initiative, singing bowl manufacturers and more. It’s also a great way to reach out elsewhere to the displaced Syrian refugees. Just buy Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, birthday, anniversary and Christmas gifts from such places. One word of caution for Americans, if you support Islamic initiatives be prepared to find yourself on no-fly lists and such, so be sure to do the research unless you are ready to pay the consequences. 

To help you to understand what I mean I’d like you to consider this: As I mentioned, we have been selling Nepali art for over 4 years. After selling a Tibetan, Buddhist style thanka or hand-carved mask to a random person in NYC, US and delivering it to an actual residence, we got a notice from Paypal to please send them verification of this person’s date of birth. Note that the thanka had already been paid for and delivered without incident months before with a credit card on our merchant account platform, not Paypal. Can you imagine getting an email 6 months after you purchased a product in a developing nation asking for your personal information? We surrendered our Paypal account rather that asking.  

Soon we will have several affiliate marketing sites of companies we believe you can trust and excellent content and products for your shopping pleasure. If you are currently supporting an NGO in a developing nation that has access to computers and WIFI you can send them this link or tag them on social media and encourage them to give such an endeavor a try. We will put their link on our website and help in any way we can to promote these grassroots agencies, regardless as to where they are.

Most importantly, when you buy products from the merchants or initiatives like we have everyone wins. You get great products and services and we pay salaries, support women’s equality and keep the lion’s share of the money in Nepal. In fact, other than international banking or internet fees, all the money goes to help people at the grassroots level.  

Happy shopping:
Examples of Nepali handicrafts: 

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