A year of invisible progress

Founder of the Dharmakaya Center for Wellbeing and the Trungram Gyalwa Foundation

04/28/2016 03:12 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

To the casual observer, it seems like nothing has happened in Nepal over the last year. But looks can be deceiving.  

A year ago, a series of earthquakes shook the very core of Nepal, killing thousands and leaving tens of thousands without food, shelter or medical care. Reading last weekend’s news reports, it seems that very little progress has been made. Politics and red tape have combined with poor infrastructure—Nepal lacks roads and equipment and communication networks as well as solid emergency procedures—making rebuilding a tortuously slow process.

Yet, I see progress on all fronts.

Buddhist Relief Services volunteers visit a village

Like laying the foundation for a building, the groundwork for reconstruction is time-consuming, and much of the work is not visible. However, it is critical to do this work properly, since everything rests on it. Plus, in Nepal there are a lot of problems to solve.

First, people need housing. In the hard-hit rural areas, virtually nothing has been rebuilt and even in mountainous regions people are still living in open air. Second, and even more compelling, are the thousands of children whose lives have been overturned—orphaned, made homeless, or had their schooling abruptly stop (many schools in Nepal closed last year, either destroyed by the earthquakes or unable to obtain fuel for cooking, heating and transportation).


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