On April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, leaving an estimated (and quickly rising) death toll of 4,800. Thousands more were injured, and about eight million people were affected across the country. When the devastating news reached Nepal native Rajee Aryal and her family, who own Namaste Café in Uptown, they knew something had to be done for their friends and relatives back home.
While nobody in Aryal’s family was harmed in the earthquake, they’ve been tirelessly at work providing for those who were. Aryal’s mother-in-law has been feeding people for free and allowing them to camp at her house, while other friends started a relief camp of their own. To assist in the relief efforts, Aryal launched an earthquake relief fund through Namaste Café for people to contribute directly to relief efforts headed up by her family and friends.
“This is a very different effort than those by really large organizations and charities, since we have direct contact with people in Nepal,” Aryal said. “We want to help common people doing what they can on the ground without organizational support.”
People who donate to the fund, either in person at Namaste Café or through their online donation page, will receive updates and even have the chance to give feedback on how their donations are being distributed. Ayral said donations are especially important in the days following the earthquake, since relief efforts are still focused on saving lives rather than rebuilding.
“We live in this 24/7 news cycle—if you’re not seeing it on the news people think the situation has gotten better,” Ayral said. “But it’s dire right now.”
To donate, go to the Namaste Café Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund, or visit the restaurant at 2512 Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.