A Nanaimo Rotary club is organizing a hike up to Mt. Benson this Saturday to raise money for Nepal.
The Rotary Club of Daybreak Nanaimo is organizing the first of several hikes which is expected to raise $2,000 says spokesperson Frank Pluta.
He says the Nanaimo club will transfer funds to the Rotary Club in Nepal which will be used to help a smaller community get support. “We’re hoping that nationally or internationally they will match that combined total so far,” says Pluta. “It multiplies the efforts.”
Pluta says there are currently between 20 and 40 people going on the hike this Sat, Sept. 26, which starts at Witchcraft Lake on Benson View Road and winds its way to the summit. The Hike for Nepal event was initiated by Dr. san Mahara, a Nanaimo dentist and rotary member, was in Nepal with his son when the earthquake struck this past spring. “They extended their vacation by two weeks to stay and help,” says Pluta.
Through local and international efforts, Mahara helped raise money to help purchase food, water, household essentials and simple medical supplies like gauze and bandages.
He says $4,000 was raised in Nepal and another $12,000 with matching government donations when he returned to Canada.
After the 8.1 earthquake, many people stayed in tents, afraid to remain in buildings as the area experienced more than 20,000 aftershocks.
“There’s a huge need, millions of kids are out of school. Schools are destroyed,” says Dr. Mahara.
He says he has identified a couple villages that need help.
“Then we will meet basic needs, schools, water. We will help them one by one,” says Dr. Mahara.
Pluta says the Saturday hike is a first hike before another is planned.
“We want to make sure we do a decent job first and tweak it for a more formal hike,” he noted. “We’re looking at the spring. We want to see that all the mechanism goes into place.”
Pluta says they also want to determine what feedback they get on the people who are being helped in Nepal before planning for another hike.
“Right now we’re looking for someone with experience hiking, otherwise it’s too challenging,” he says.
The hike is two hours up with some steep parts and hikers attending are recommended to properly prepare.To learn more visit www.hikefornepal.ca.