In Jackson Heights, Local Nepalis Hold Vigil for Shattered Homeland


    As I’m sure all of you Q’Stoners are aware, a devastating earthquake in Nepal has shattered the landscape and left thousands dead. A round-the-clock vigil has been under way for a few days on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, which is home to much of New York City’s Nepali community.

    Yesterday, I walked over from Astoria to visit with our neighbors in their time of need and offer condolences. I was lucky enough to speak to some members of the Hyolmo Youth Club while I was there.


    A wall on 37th Avenue is covered in Post-it notes, offering support from the legendarily diverse community of Jackson Heights to victims of the Nepali quake. Scanning the wall, I saw English, Spanish, what appeared to be Arabic, and half a dozen letterforms I didn’t recognize. When the neighbors are in trouble, the Queensican way is to come together.


    The following statement, and photos of the devastation in Nepal, were sent to me by Dorje Lama, president of the Hyolmo Youth Club:

    In response to the tragic Nepal Earthquake, we Hyolmo Youth Club in collaboration with Sindhu USA Welfare Society, are reaching out for your help. We are non-religious, non-political, and community based social organization that provides a platform for facilitation integration of Nepal immigrants into the US society.

    From the day we heard about this tragic incident, we have set up a 24-hour candle light vigil at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights, NY. This vigil is dedicated to increasing awareness that help is needed in Nepal. It is also in memory of all victims. It has been a huge success, we have had a very good response from the media; therefore awareness is being made every hour.

    The victims of the Earthquake are receiving emergency care; next they will desperately need a different kind of help – help healing their shattered lives. Due to problem with communications, most of the media coverage of the earthquake has focused on Kathmandu and its neighboring cities. Which means, the villages’ opportunity to access to any foreign aids is very slim. Therefore, an organization like us has taken the step to help villages directly. While, our major focus is our region, Helambu, we are determined in helping all of Sindhuplachowk district. The road to recovery will be long; however, your kindness will get us through.

    Many local health and welfare professionals, teachers, students, friends and neighbors are enthusiastically offering their time and expertise to help with this project but our needs are many and all levels of support are needed. We need volunteers, supplies for the camp and money to help defray the costs.

    Thank you for your concern and willing to help. Please help us spread the word and receive help in every way possible. If people want to write a tax deductible cheque we have collaborated with a 501c organization. Cheques can be made out to Sindhu USA welfare society, P.O, Box 721280, Jackson Heights NYC and HYC earthquake relief fund on the memo line.

    For other donations:


    Khadichaur, Sindhupalchok. Photo via Hyolmo Youth Club.


    Sindupalchok. Photo via Hyolmo Youth Club.


    Nurbuling or Tarton. Photo via Hyolmo Youth Club.


    Sermathang. Photo via Hyolmo Youth Club.


    Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman lives in Astoria and blogs at Newtown Pentacle.

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