|Phulbari Street in Boudha, which I sketched this February.|
For six days I have been thinking of how best to write this post, as I am wrought with emotions of all sorts over the recent earthquake in Nepal. As some of you know, I started volunteering as an art teacher at Shree Mangal Dvip School for Himalayan Children (SMD) five years ago, and typically spend my summers teaching the children interested in art how to draw, paint, and sketch.
|Annapurna, from my first visit to Nepal in 2010|
It has been a deeply rewarding experience to say the least— PeF has also joined in on the fun, and our young artists have become our family. Kim Marohn and the Paris Urban Sketchers have generously donated art supplies to the school in the past, and Mário Linhares and Ketta Cabral of USk Portugal sent us 20 beautiful handmade sketchbooks which the kids cherish, and have long since filled with drawings and sketches from their daily lives:
|Student life at SMD, by Gyamtso and Kiran|
I have been able to contact one of our kids, Tsewang, a gifted young artist, who has assured me that the near 240 children and staff of SMD are safe, though living outside under tarps. The school buildings have been severely damaged and rendered unsafe for use. Fortunately Tsewang's family is safe, but their village in Nubri, in the hardest-hit Ghorka region, has mostly been destroyed. His home is gone. Many of the children who board at SMD do not have homes anymore; their villages are simply gone, and some still do not know if their families are alive.
News has been slowly trickling in about the older artists who have now moved on from SMD (the school only goes up to 10th grade), and thankfully most are safe. However, one of my boys has been hospitalised after a wall fell on him, and at this point no one seems to know more about his condition, or exactly where he is. There are three other boys whom no one has heard from— one of whom is Pemba Gyaltsen, whose sketch is below.
|People praying at Boudhanath Stupa, by Pemba Gyaltsen|
If you would like to support the children of SMD in this difficult time, I have posted information on how to help on my blog. I will be posting updates on the situation, as well as photos of the kids and their artwork. I am forever grateful to all of you who have sent us supplies and support over the years. Please keep SMD, and the people of Nepal in your hearts and thoughts.