For those of you who have kept up with my Travel Notebook already know, Nepal has captured a very dear place in my heart in the past several years. It was during a recent education trip I hosted, back in March of 2015, that I fell head over heels for the country’s rugged beauty and indomitable spirit and friendliness of its people.
Not long after that visit, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the country just east of the district of Lamjung in Nepal. There was no question in my mind that I wanted to devote as much time, energy and love as I could into making a different and helping in whatever manner I could.
Today, when visiting Kathmandu, it’s not immediately evident that the city suffered a terrible setback just a few years ago. However, outside the city, in rural Nepal, there are thousands who are still faced with rebuilding their homes and lives. Not only do local charities need and rely on funds, but the country as a whole needs tourism revenue – many I’ve met, from the hotel staff to the local vendors, worry about the dwindling number of tourists. It’s more important than ever for us to promote Nepal’s beauty and open hospitality to those who love to travel and broaden their horizons. There is no reason not to visit Nepal … yet every reason to make one’s way to this magical land. I am so honored by my role as Honorary Tourism Goodwill Ambassador of Nepal and will continue to support tourism recovery in the short term and foreseeable future – with the hope that Nepal will ultimately emerge with an even stronger tourism base than before.
Launching Design for Life
In keeping with my commitment to Nepal and its people, I launched Design for Life by Rebecca Recommends – our mission is to help Nepalese artisans thrive and join the effort of local charitable foundations. At this time, we produce and sell pashmina shawls, linen and wool scarves and other ethically and respectfully crafted items, giving back a large percentage of the proceeds to the following foundations.
The Yeti Foundation, Nepal carried out emergency rescue and relief work following the April earthquake. Their long-term projects focus on safe shelter, quality technical and vocational education, income generation programs, good health, respect and quality of life for underprivileged children, adults and senior citizens, along with restoring the village of Dharampani where almost all homes need to be rebuilt. To read more on the Yeti Foundation, please see www.yetifoundation.org.
The Nepal Youth Foundation, who has already touched the lives of over 45,000 children in the past three decades, has launched the “Rebuild Nepal” Initiative aimed at helping child survivors of the earthquake. I feel privileged to have met NYF founder Olga Murray. She is truly one of the most inspirational ladies I have ever met, a true visionary and a testament to how one person can make a huge difference in so many lives. To read more on The Nepal Youth Foundation, please see nepalyouthfoundation.org.
Camp Hope, created and supported by The Dwarika’s Group, is for anyone interested in taking some time out of their busy schedule and traveling to Nepal to volunteer their energy and skills. I would be delighted to introduce you to Mrs. Sangita Shrestha Einhaus who is spearheading a village project that requires funds to complete. To read more on Camp Hope, please see www.dwarikas.com/more/blog.
My team and I make it a priority to get to know the people who run the charities we give to, and to visit often so as to see where the money raised is being spent. We dearly hope that we are able to continue working with artisans throughout Nepal and fostering these special connections that mean so much to the traveling public and to the Nepalese people they benefit.
To find out more about Design for Life, please see www.designforliferr.com. Should you wish to purchase any of the items crafted by the artisans listed above, you may do so at the DFL website. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss ideas that you might have to promote and support travel to Nepal.