Techies Go to Nepal

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An email at work was forwarded around announcing a fundraiser and earthquake relief trip to Nepal in mid-July. My immediate thought: “Follow the money.” The former journalist in me instinctively started researching how Effect.org would use fundraised dollars on the Nepal Earthquake relief trip.

On April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake completely devastated Nepal, and the Nepalis desperately deserved every $1 of aide received to help re-build their lives. They had lost everything. Suffering would continue in the forms of hunger, painful injuries, and frustration at the Nepal government for the politicization of aide.

Effect.org’s 20-minute documentary about the earthquake moved me to tears. You can’t watch it without having your heart broken.

I couldn’t have been happier to see where my “follow the money” investigation ended: Effect.org explicitly listed the costs for everything: $40 for a 6-month water filtration system. $100 for a classroom, $500 for a temporary school.

My intrigue of the trip slowly turned to excitement at how far my dollars would go. I applied for one of the 20 spots to accompany Effect.org, and I feel so privileged that Effect believed that I had the passion, compassion, and skills to help the Nepalis.

And 77 other Googlers and Salesforce-ers also thought this was the opportunity of a lifetime to help people who had lost everything. We were all willing to fundraise the $5000 that was asked of us, money that would go to helping the Nepalis.

We leave for Kathmandu July 10. We will start in Kathmandu and a nearby village building temporary shelters, classrooms, and water systems. The trip will culminate in what Google & Salesforce employees do best: use technology to build solutions. (Don’t get me wrong, I can swing the heck out of a hammer, but that’s really not a skill I’d list on my resume.)

During the 3-day Hack-a-Thon with local Nepali engineers, some of us will build Early Detection Earthquake Sensors. Others will design cell tower implementation plans for cheaper connectivity, all with an open mind that our end goals may differ vastly from what we initially thought. By working side-by-side with Nepal Rises, our projects will iterate and shift in order to best meet the needs of the Nepalis.

To all my friends and family who have supported me thus far, thank you. Thank you for believing that collectively, we can help Nepal Rise. If you’d like to donate to NepalRises.com through Effect.org, please visit: gofund.me/staciehelpingnepal.

In an effort of full transparency, this blog will document everything we do, every struggle, every triumph, and every friend we meet along the way. We cannot wait to hit the ground running.

With gratitude,

Stacie

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