Nepal is shaken and shattered, no doubt. But the people of Nepal, showing paramount courage and strength, are picking up the pieces and rebuilding the nation. All they require is a bit of support, a helping hand. UJAYA SHAKYA the communications veteran and VP of the Advertising Association of Nepal appeals the PR agencies of India to come forward and partner in rebuilding Nepal. High time we should join hands and support Nepal.
If you have been following the news, the death toll from the devastating earthquake that struck us about a week back has already cross above 7000 by now. There are many villages across Nepal where almost all of the houses have been destroyed. At this hour, the Advertising Association of Nepal (AAN) is coordinating with the Nepal Government to accumulate an Earthquake Relief Fund. All the member agencies of our association are already contributing. We would like to appeal to the international community to come forward and help Nepal in every possible way during this tragic time.
Kathmandu Valley was a city of temples. Now it is a city of tents. This is a very unfortunate time for most Nepalese across the world. On 25th April, Saturday at 11:56 NST onwards things have drastically changed for all of us. It has inbuilt a fear within us on every occasion of aftershocks which has been continuously taking place even today.
Along with terrible loss of life, the country has also suffered severe damage of Durbar Squares, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in all three important cities within Kathmandu valley – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, a primitive township with a public square area preserved almost intact for centuries but now in ruins. All three of them also consist of old royal palaces, which include temples, idols, open courts, water fountains and more. These three sites are amongst the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Nepal. In fact, these are the urban focal points of Nepal’s capital. Kathmandu valley is a city for which the cultural sites are part of its skeleton. If you take them away, the city collapses losing its core meaning beyond being political and business capital of the country. Kathmandu temples and such monuments are central to our community life.
And of course, there is the economic aspect of these sites as well. Almost 10% of Nepal’s economy depends on tourism. There are so many investment and infrastructure built around Kathmandu valley and even closer to these areas, which are made on the basic of tourism industry. Visitors come to these areas as a part of site seeing and indulge themselves with local culture and feel Nepali history through temples, shrines and palaces built around these sites. Tourists coming from across the world spend multiple hours around them and spend good amount of time in the surrounding restaurants to feel the ambience of the area. The artifacts, wooden cravings and statuettes they see in these sites inspires them to purchase local handicrafts from gift shops or street hawkers.
In fact, Kathmandu valley offers a historic crossroads of religion and culture, which are internationally recognized as a unique, mix of Buddhist and Hindu iconography is the core brand proposition of Kathmandu valley to attract more foreigners for holidays in Nepal. For Kathmandu valley to be relevant for visitors, these ambiences are the central of the offerings by many travel agencies who are selling site-seeing packages.
The earthquake has struck Nepal on so many levels. Personally, culturally, historically and socially and without a future of tourism the very livelihoods of certain section of Nepalese are threatened. Therefore it is an obligation for both Nepalese and the world to restore these structures in its former glory despite of both technical and monetary challenges. It is just simply impossible to image Kathmandu valley without them.
If any one wants to help Nepal, please reach out to Advertising Association of Nepal Office in Kathmandu and we will guide you in the process.
UJAYA SHAKYA is the founder and managing director of Outreach Nepal. Currently he is the vice-president of Advertising Association of Nepal (AAN) and Coordinator International Relations and will assist you in the process. You can tweet him your comments at @shakyau or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org