Penticton students organize fundraiser for ravaged Nepal

A fundraising dinner being planned by students at Princess Margaret Secondary for Nepal has taken on new meaning.

Gavin Pattman

Gavin Pattman

A fundraising dinner being planned by students at Princess Margaret Secondary has taken on new meaning in light of a second earthquake in Nepal this week.

Less than three weeks after Nepal was ravaged by its worst quake in decades, a second magnitude 7.3 quake hit the Himalayan nation on May 12. Early reports said at least 37 people were killed in the second quake, but officials expect the death toll to rise as reports emerge of people being buried under the rubble.

For Bishal Kahti, it all hits too close to home. He arrived in Canada with his family last year, and still has friends and relatives living there.

“It was so scary. I saw my parents aching because they had their parents over there and they couldn’t know if they are safe or not,” said Kahti, recalling the mood in his home after the first quake. Communications were sporadic, but Kahti’s family eventually managed to get through and confirm that their relatives were safe.

“It wasn’t in our city, but it was quite close. My family and relatives are fine,” said Kahti, who is one of the students organizing the dinner at Maggie. His father, a chef at Lachi Restaurant, will also be lending a hand.

The Dinner for Nepal takes place at Maggie Secondary at 6 p.m. on May 19, and offers an Indian and Nepali dinner with international side dishes and live entertainment to raise money for Red Cross relief efforts.

Lutsha Bata and Gavin Pattman, who are also helping organize the event, said they were moved by the plight of the Nepalese after the first quake, which killed more than 8,000 people.

“We couldn’t just stand by as they suffered,” said Pattman. “We decided we needed to do something to help the people affected by the disaster.”

Bata said the school has a strong community of Nepalese and Indian students, who have family, or know people, in the mountain country.

“We wanted to bring them together and have an event, bring the community to this, raise awareness and money,” said Pattman. “We asked them to create some cultural dishes and other international students at our school are helping as well.”

Vice-principal Sandra Richardson, who also teaches a leadership class, said she is ecstatic about the student initiative, though she initially thought it might be too big a job to pull off in the time frame.

“They were so organized and had so many good ideas that you end up supporting them,” said Richardson. “It’s a good initiative. We have three Nepalese students at our school. It is the right thing to do.”

The organizers say the student body has been supportive as well, with the leadership class, social justice club, music and food students pitching in.

“We have friends at Pen High that are working on leadership to help us out with advertising and at the event,” said Pattman, adding that students from the Pen High guitar class will be performing.

“It is bringing a lot of people together.”

Tickets for the dinner are $15, and are available at the Maggie Secondary office. No tickets will be available at the door.

 

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