Nepal Candlelight Vigil

A candlelight vigil was held at UCLA to offer support to the victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal

On April 30th, 2015, UCLA’s Project RISHI chapter collaborated with INDUS, an organization that aims to promote unity among South Asian countries, to organize a Candlelight Vigil for victims of the Nepal earthquake. The event started at 8:00 PM, with Project RISHI and INDUS members introducing their respective organizations and explaining the why the event was being held.

The Nepal Vigil was held in order to raise awareness and come together as cohesive community to offer prayers and support to those who were affected by the disastrous earthquake that hit Nepal. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake left 8,800 dead and 23,000 injured. The vigil allowed for numerous students whose families were affected to speak and give their perspective on the earthquake.
 A fundraising campaign that was launched at the vigil was successful in raising $1,732 through the crowdfunding site, crowdrise. The proceeds went to Sahayeta, a Nepali charity whose goal is to support causes such as education, health, children’s rights, elderly rights, and women’s empowerment in the Himalayan region. Sahayeta was chosen specifically because of its emphasis on working with rural villages. All of RISHI’s contributions went directly to the reconstruction efforts in the Nepali regions that were hurt the most due to the earthquake. Although a considerable amount of money was raised due to the campaign, extensive support is still needed for the reconstruction efforts in Nepal. The crowdfunding campaign is still open, and donations will still go directly towards work currently being done on ground in Nepal.

Students gather at Meyerhoff Park to offer prayers for the victims of the earthquake

As an additional fundraising effort, we ordered silicon wristbands with the message “Hope for Nepal” imprinted on the band. UCLA’s chapter sold the bands for $3 each at the candlelight vigil, on campus, and at the Indian Student Union’s culture show in the following weeks to continue to raise funds and awareness. An additional $798 was raised as a result of wristband sales. In a collaborative effort Project RISHI chapters at Cal Poly Pomona and UCR sold the same bands at their respective campuses.

Project RISHI wristband fundraiser

RISHI was founded with the underlying principle of supporting sustainable development and growth of rural Indian communities. The fact that Nepal, a close neighbor to India which suffers from many similar problems to that of rural India, had its development threatened prompted RISHI members to act. In retrospect, RISHI’s involvement in helping Nepal recover from the tragedy not only diversified RISHI as an organization striving for positive change in the world, but it also strengthened and solidified RISHI’s core goal of sustainable development.

Author(s): Geeth Kondaveeti and Archana Reddy

Originally published at

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