Asta-Ja Research & Development​ Center

                         Kathmandu, Nepal​

On November 27, 2015, with financial support from the Acadiana Indian Association (AIA), Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal distributed relief blankets to earthquake victims in Kathmandu and Dhading districts of Nepal. With the onset of chilly winter, the victims really appreciated the relief package. Asta-Ja volunteers, villagers, and earthquake victims appreciated the support and thanked AIA for this valuable help. It was heart-breaking to see the devastation and poverty these villages. Despite almost eight months passed after the Gorkha Earthquake, this community sadly had not receive any relief from any other agencies due to its difficult terrain location and remoteness. About 120 households received relief blankets.

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette Nepalese Students’ Association, the Association of Indian Students, and the Acadiana Indian Association (AIA) Lafayette, Louisiana, USA hosted a candlelight vigil and fundraiser for the victims of the April 25th Nepal Standard time 11.56 AM massive 7.8Mw magnitude Gorkha Earthquake that killed over 9,000, injured more than 25,000 people, and affected nearly 8 million people in Nepal. The event was held in Oliver Hall Auditorium, Room 112, located on the UL Campus and was attended by the University President, Deans, faculty and staff,  students, and  members from the local communities. Please click on the link  ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB1RG-fBn9Y ​ for a news coverage, and please click PowerPoint for a PowerPoint presentation.

On July 29, 2015, the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and in coordination with District Agricultural Offices in the 23 earthquake devastated districts of Nepal started the distribution of 50,000 GrainPro SuperGrain Bags, which were provided by the GreaterGood.Org and the hungersite, to the earthquake victims in Nepal. A SuperGrain Bag is a multilayer plastic bag with a gas barrier which can be used in any kind of agricultural commodity storage. The bag acts as a gas and moisture-proof barrier. It retains low oxygen and carbon-dioxide levels created by the respiration of the commodity inside. SuperGrain Bags have already been transported to all 23 districts and their distributions to earthquake victims have been continuing. Super Bags have already been distributed in Benighat, Gajuri and Khanikhola areas in Dhadhing and several villages in Kathmandu, Laiitpur and Bhaktapur districts.

Capacity-building and Sustainable Development

On June 2-5, 2015,  with financial support from the GreaterGood.Org and the hungersite, the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal distributed seed packets for earthquake victims in Kathmandu (Ramkot and Shankharpur), Dhading (Jibanpur village), Nuwakot (Jiling, Ratmate and Duipipal villages), Kavre (Chandani and Mahadevsthan villages), and Sindhupalchowk district (Bhimtar and Mankha villages) of  Nepal. Asta-Ja Team members involved in the distribution were Mr. Khem Sharma Paudyal, Dr. Udhab Raj Khadka, Dr. Bishnu Chapagain, Mr. Yuba Raj Bhandari, Mr. Hari Bhusal, Mr. Bishowa Mani Pokhrel, Mr. Tej Prasad Pudasaini, Mr. Santosh Neupane, and Mr. Ganesh Uprety. A total number of 611 families benefitted from this relief effort. Seed packages included rice seeds (sabitri), and 10 different vegetable seeds (tomato, carrot, radish, soybean, string beans, corianders, and green leafy vegetables). A total amount of 1,505 kg  rice seeds and 227 packets (9 sets kit, 2 kg vegetable seeds per packet) of vegetable seeds were distributed. Orientations were given immediately by agricultural technicians on varieties, plant growth, nursery management, fertilizer requirement, planting, pests and diseases, and harvesting to the farmers after the seeds were handed over. Seeds were distributed in the presence of Agricultural Officers from the respective districts. Among the individuals receiving seeds, almost 70% were female and 30% were male. Some testimonials from the fields:

An old woman – “Vegetable seeds belong to us. We need to feed vegetables to our families; therefore, it is very helpful for us”,
A farmer (male) – “Seeds are very important for us. Other organizations brought food that feed only us, but you brought seeds which can feed not only us but also other people’, Farmers at Chandani, Sindhupalchowk- “Seeds are very important for us. We will share these seeds with our neighbors”, Good appreciation from governmental officials in our seeds distribution, as we were the first organizations distributing rice seeds and vegetable package seeds after the earthquake, A farmer in Mahadevsthan, Kavre –“This relief is different from others. Seeds distribution is associated with survive yourself and let other also survive”, Mr. Bishnu Rupakhet, Jibanpur, Dhadhing- “This relief is much better than other reliefs. These seeds divert us from earthquake sorrows to our soils. They motivate us to plant them and take care of emerging seedlings. Please continue helping us in the future”, Farmers in general – “We will feed you with our vegetables from these seeds when you come for the follow-up”.

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On June 16, 2015, with financial support from the ​Society of Nepalese in Hawaii (SNEHA),  the Asta-Ja RDC together with the Asta-Ja Abhiyan Nepal distributed Justa Pata as an emergency relief work in earthquake devastated Jaubari village of Dhading district in Nepal. Justa Patas were distributed with the help from community leaders including Mr. Hari Bhatta, Mr. Bishnu Gurung, Mr. Shibva Aryal, and Mr. D.P. Aryal. We transported the Tin Sheets all the way from Dhadingbesi to Jaubari village and distributed to the earthquake victim communities (141 households, each household one bundle) and to the local school named Shri Mandali Lower Secondary School.  The Asta-Ja volunteer team included Mr. Khem Poudel, Mr. LokKrishna Bhattarai, Mr. Madhav Adhikari, Mr. Yuvraj Bhandari and Mr. Hari Bhusal. In addition, Mr. Parashuram Kafle from Naya Patrika was also in the team.