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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Milford's Close Ties with Nepal

The recent devastating earthquakes in Nepal couldn't be further from Milford on Sea, - or are they?

We all watch the news, and see the heartbreaking images, but it is hard for us to really imagine the reality of losing everything you had.

You may be surprised to hear that Milford on Sea has much closer ties to the devastated areas of Nepal than you may realise. Joey & Mark Owen live in the village, and are founders of the small and family run charity Freedom to Learn. The charity is operated from their home in the village and supports education in areas which include the exact region just reduced to rubble.

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Joey has just come back from a month's work in Kathmandu and neighbouring districts. The last week she was in Medoc School Rasuwa, the school and village no longer exists devastated by a landslide just after the earthquake hit. Joey said: "Thank god they ran and only very few are missing or injured." 

Mark is currently in Nepal assisting the rescue mission around the charity's schools. He is working to access the most rural areas where he knows families and colleagues have lost everything and there are so many still unaccounted for. Early Wednesday morning Joey heard from Mark, who told her that they were nearly out of all back up power and were desperately asking us for help - they had not even heard a helicopter as yet.

Across Nepal over 4300 people are reported to have died to date, and millions more need urgent help.

All of the 13 schools Joey, Mark and Freedom to Learn work in have been badly effected, not to mention the families and children who are now homeless. Three of the local charity staff have lost everything and still have family members unaccounted for.

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As Mark helps on the ground, Joey is passionate to raise money to directly support the people affected by the disaster. Over the weekend she has raised nearly £3000, and Freedom to Learn has £2000 in their reserves to donate to assist the emergency relief. Joey commits that every single penny will be spent directly on where it is most needed and that admin/travel/hidden costs will not be incurred.

Any money donated to Freedom to Learn will be sent directly by Joey, using Western Union, to her husband and charity trustee Mark, so he can help directly where he is working with the team in this devastating situation.  

Milford on Sea School is already planning to raise funds with activities in the coming couple of weeks, and other local organisations are looking at how they can help.

Tomorrow (Thursday 30th April), the school is holding a Textile Recycling Collection. Anyone in the village is invited to drop unwanted textiles into the school, which can include adults and children's' clothes, shoes, ties, hats, belts, bags and soft toys. (But, No bedding, curtains or household linen.) All bags need to be there by 9am please. 

We all see the graphic images on our TV's and share the feelings of shock and sympathy. But being fortunate, it is hard for us to really understand what is it is like to lose everything, and to see your community and families destroyed.

It is then not long before we return to our normal lives.

Not everyone can directly help at the scene, but giving what cash you can afford really supports those that are there helping these tragedy ravaged people.

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If you would like to help with a donation of any amount to the Freedom to Learn Nepal Earthquake Appeal, please click here.

Donations can also be made to the Disasters Emergency Committee by clicking here.

Freedom to Learn
Freedom to Learn is a UK based charity which works to provide the opportunity of education to children from some of the remotest regions of the Himalayas and South Asia.

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