Students make Christmas come early for ravaged Nepal

By Tahlia Sarv, Francesca Wallace and Caitlin Taylor

A fundraiser held at Bathurst’s Charles Sturt University on Thursday night celebrated a snowy Christmas in July, but helped those much further away.

$6000 was raised for Trekking4Nepal, a charity started solely by two CSU students Jack Thompson and James Tatham.

At least 9000 people were killed when two earthquakes devastated Nepal earlier this year, making the disaster the worst to hit the Himalayan country on record.

The United Nations estimates that eight million people were affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April and the 7.3 magnitude aftershock in May, which has left 2.8 million people displaced.

Co-founder of the start-up charity, Jack Thompson says the idea for the organisation came about due to overwhelming feelings of frustration and helplessness about what could be done on a local level.

“When I heard of the earthquake in Nepal, I was devastated but convinced there was nothing I could do,” he said.

Other founder James Tatham visited the country earlier in the year, and was devastated when he heard about the earthquake, another reason why the pair started the charity.

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James Tatham and family in Nepal earlier this year. Source: Supplied

Mr Thompson hasn’t visited the country, but shares Mr Tatham’s passion for gratitude.

“Although I do not have the emotional connection with the country that Tats [co-founder] has, I do have a good heart and a burning desire to help those who are less fortunate than me,” the 21-year-old said.

Since the earthquake, Trekking 4 Nepal has pledged to trek one kilometre for every ten lives lost in the disaster, as a team of four CSU students look to take on the terrain in the Blue Mountains.

The group are set to walk just over 900 kilometres by the end of their journey, which will be broken up into separate journeys.

With the trek set to get underway in coming weeks, the group joined forces with the university’s Combined Residence Association in a final attempt to raise much needed support.

“The uni has really got behind us, although we are finding it hard to crack into the local community, although the uni crowd is great. Sharing the little money they have as poor uni students to do something good, it’s just really nice to see,” Jack said.

Fundraising efforts at Rafters Bar, photo: Caitlin Taylor

Coordinator of the fundraising event, and vice president of the Combined Residents Association, Liam Fulmer called the night a “huge” success.

“It’s quite unusual for university social nights to direct their money towards a cause, and the money raised succeeded all expectations,” he said.

“Everyone was really positive towards the cause, it was great to see that students were still so involved with the charity, considering the earthquake happened in April.”

Hundreds of students lit up the bar in both costume and generosity as they celebrated a snowy evening with friends.

Student Bronte MacInnes says she liked that the event was something different.

“It’s really cool that money that would usually go to the uni went to something way more worthwhile. It was nice,” she said.

The charity is still trying to raise much needed last minute funds.

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