When a catastrophic earthquake struck Nepal one year
ago today, Mexicali Blues pledged 100% of proceeds from
Tibetan prayer flag purchases to the recovery and
rebuilding effort. Our generous customers helped us reach
an ambitious goal—$25,000 in aid. On the solemn
anniversary of the earthquake, our founders, Pete and
Kim Erskine, are in Nepal to see firsthand the help and
healing Prayer Flags for Nepal provided.
If you bought a Tibetan prayer flag from Mexicali Blues in the past year, those flags spread blessings on the wind to all who need them. And each week, Mexicali Blues sent the full purchase price where it was needed most—to our dear friends in earthquake-ravaged Nepal.
A few nights ago, a magnitude 4.0 aftershock rumbled through central Nepal. There have been hundreds of such aftershocks in the past year—physical, emotional, financial. Pete and Kim Erskine, traveling in Nepal on a biannual buying trip, can see both destruction and determination to rebuild everywhere they go.
Broken buildings are propped up by makeshift beams, trekkers and tourists are staying away, and one in seven Nepalese still live in makeshift shelters. Food and fuel are scarce, particularly in remote and rural mountain areas. But in the midst of this great struggle, there is great strength. “The feeling here—what everyone is talking about ahead of the anniversary—is gratitude for what they have, not what they have lost,” Pete says. “It’s so positive, and it feels so powerful.”
They are also seeing that one year later, there is still great need. “Unfortunately, much of the huge outpouring of international aid hasn’t been dispersed because the Nepali government is quarreling over who will distribute the funds,” he explains. “The only progress we’re seeing is happening from the bottom up, not the top down. Local communities, and small NGOs with small, well-defined objectives.”
These are exactly the sorts of initiatives the Mexicali Blues Prayer Flags for Nepal program chose to support. Tibetans believe that while a prayer flag may fade, the prayer within it becomes a permanent part of the universe. We chose our charitable partners thoughtfully and rigorously so that your contribution had real staying power as well:
The dZi Foundation works only in the most remote, inaccessible regions of Nepal—the areas that are struggling the most right now. Working hand-in-hand with locals, they are building bridges, schools and health facilities that make earthquake relief accessible and possible. They were working in these remote villages before the quakes, and they have made a long-term commitment to stay. Our Prayer Flag contributions to dZi brought clean drinking water, sanitary toilets, warm shelter and irrigated farmland to over 29,000 people.
MercyCorps has a long and trusted history of supporting sustainable development all across Nepal. Our Prayer Flag donations provided emergency supplies, food, water and safe shelter in Khatmandu and beyond. And because electricity is still so unreliable, our contributions provided emergency mobile charging stations, so families can communicate with each other, and solar lamps, to brighten cold, dark nights.
The American Himalayan Foundation Fund delivered food, water, tarps and hygiene kits to the hardest-hit areas. They’re building tin and bamboo shelters for housing and schools. Our Prayer Flag contributions are also making sure that the desperation and confusion the earthquake has caused won’t make it easier for girl traffickers to exploit the daughers of Nepal, by making sure even the most remote and ravaged villages have the schools and supplies they need to keep girls safe.
“The money we’ve raised for these nonprofits is great,” Pete continues. “But simply doing business here does just as much good.” The earthquake did extensive damage to the local infrastructure and economy of Nepal. As Pete and Kim visit the artisans, makers and merchants we’ve worked with for years, they are overwhelmed by the gratitude and appreciation for their business.“We’re continuing to make regular shipments from our local artisans here without interruption, because uninterrupted work keeps steady jobs and income for Nepali familes,” says Pete. “That stability is what Nepal desperately needs right now.”
“If you bought a Tibetan prayer flag to help Nepal, you should know that the Day Tripper Hemp Backpack, Kashmiri Embroidered Jacket, and Sirwal Organic Palazzo Pants you buy will do just as much good,” adds Kim.“These are incredible products made by incredible people. They are facing incredible obstacles right now, and it feels great to support their economy.” “It’s a really good feeling to be doing business here,” Pete agrees.