Yukon's Hands of Hope charity waits for news after Nepal earthquake

Yukoner Leisel Briggs and her daughter Rosemarie have been anxiously waiting on news from Nepal after Saturday's deadly earthquake. The Briggs' charitable organization, Hands of Hope, helped build a school in Nepal and has sponsored several orphans to pursue post-secondary education.

'You want to be there with the kids,' says Rosemarie Briggs

'We have to be supportive,' says Leisel Briggs (left), who began the 'Hands of Hope' project with her daughter Rosemarie a decade ago. (Hands of Hope)

Saturday's earthquake in Nepal has hit home for a couple of Yukoners, now anxiously waiting for more news from friends and loved ones.

Leisel Briggs and her daughter Rosemarie have helped build libraries and a school in Nepal through their charitable organization, Hands of Hope. They've also sponsored several students to pursue post-secondary education.
Hands of Hope has helped put libraries in Nepal schools, such as this one. The Briggs say all the students and people they've worked with have been accounted for since the earthquake, but the condition of the buildings is unknown. (Hands of Hope)

The Briggs' say they've heard that all of those students are alive and accounted for, but not necessarily out of danger.

"The first communication we got was from one of the boys, and he said" 'we're fine, sister and grandma, we're okay, everything's okay, it's a little bit difficult,'" says Rosemarie. "But, you know, they didn't tell us at that point that they were out in the open, it was raining, that they weren't getting food and water."

The Briggs says communication with their contacts in Nepal has been patchy. They say that when they do manage to connect to people in Nepal, they pass information about what's going on there, "so other Nepalis know."

The Briggs don't know what's happened to the schools or libraries they've helped build.

"Truly, we haven't even asked," says Rosemarie. "We're just worried about the people right now."

The Briggs are urging people who want to help with relief efforts in Nepal to support the International Red Cross, or Doctors Without Borders.

They also plan to continue their own fundraising efforts for Hands of Hope, despite any setbacks caused by the earthquake.

"We really don't know at this point what the fallout will be," says Rosemarie. "We don't know if we're going to have to relocate kids to India or Bangladesh to go to school."

"We do know that we can't tell them: 'okay, you're not going to school, we can't fund you now'," says Leisel. "We have to be supportive."  



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