A local charity has been offering support to two relief workers helping those suffering in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquakes.
St Leonards based inter-church charity ‘LOAF’ is backing the relief workers who both have connections to the local area.
Chairman of the registered charity, Dr John Geater, MBE, says along with individual donations from local churches, LOAF sent an initial £2,000 to support physiotherapist Clare Grimble and mental health specialist Dr Dhana Shakya.
“Clare worked as a physiotherapist at the Conquest and attended St Helen’s Church before joining the Christian development charity INF (formerly International Nepal Fellowship) more than 10 years ago,” he said. “Clare is now INF’s rehabilitation adviser, based at former leprosy hospital Green Pastures in Pokhara, Nepal.”
The hospital is now a leading rehabilitation centre specialising in the treatment of spinal injuries. Dr Geater says Clare reported that many people, severely injured in the earthquakes earlier this year, need long-term help learning to cope with their injuries, and she visits remote mountain villages as part of her work.
Dr Dhana Shakya, a professor of psychiatry at the BPK Institute in the south of Nepal, is a long-term national partner of St Leonards-based charity Partnerships in International Medical Education (PRIME).
“A month before the disaster he spent time in Hastings with the Sussex Partnership Trust as part of a study tour arranged by Prime,” said Dr Geater. “He took back many ideas for innovations of mental health provision, especially to serve the most disadvantaged in Nepalese society.” He added: “At the time of the earthquake he was at his family home in Bhaktapur, which was the epicentre. An aunt and uncle were both killed and Dhana’s house was severely damaged.
“Next day, amid the devastation, he set about arranging immediate care for those affected by severe psychological trauma. He has trained local volunteer counsellors, keeping people informed about signs to be aware of via the Kathmandu press and instructing school teachers about how to recognise signs of long-term trauma in pupils.” www.loafproject.co.uk