Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Church and ICON Charities, Inc.
Nepal Earthquake Relief, Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Project
implemented in partnership with Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal and HURADEC Nepal.
The devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015 with a magnitude 7.8 Richter scale with epicentre in Gorkha, Nepal killed 8,891 people and injured 22,302, flattened 6,08,155 residential buildings and partially damaged 2,98,998 houses. It also completely destroyed 2,687 government buildings (including schools and health posts) and partially damaged 3,776 structures. Similarly, out of 743 historic and archaeological sites, 133 fully collapsed, 95 partially destroyed and 515 partly damaged.
Immediately after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church sent a Kalpana to all parishes and members appointing ICON Charities and Mission Board to pool funds for helping the affected families.
In co-ordination with the MOSC Mission Board, ICON Charities initiated the financial campaign and raised more than USD 75,000 for this project with the support from our Church Members, especially our US Dioceses (See below the details including a promotional video in this regard)
Video Link: https://youtu.be/Y9RnSt3AuNo
In the history of the Church, this was the first time such an initiative has taken place outside India. This initiative has made the visibility of Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church (MOSC) and ICON Charities Inc. among the list of world humanitarian agencies/NGOs, who have extended support to the Earthquake affected people in Nepal.
Based on the rule of the land, foreign agencies are not allowed to implement disaster response activities directly. As such the funds from ICON Charities were channelled through ACT Alliance Secretariat, Geneva to LWF Nepal for providing emergency shelter and blanket to 1000 affected families during the Relief phase.
For the Reconstruction phase, a partnership agreement was signed between LWF Nepal and ICON Charities on behalf of Malankara Orthodox Church and ICON Charities to support the reconstruction of Pattitar village in Jiri Municipality under Dholaka District of Nepal with housing and toilets, restoration of pipe water supply and construction of a school building in partnership with local NGO namely HURADEC Nepal based on an estimated budget provided by LWF Nepal.
Within the available resources, 18 earthquake resistant houses, 1 school building and water supply system within the available resource from MOSC – ICON Charities have been completed in Pattitar Village, Jiri Municipality of Dolaka district.
Monitoring visits by the representatives of MOSC-ICON Charities:
In February 2016, a team consisted of, H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chisostomos Metropolitan, (Mission Board President) , H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Thevodoros Metropolitan, (Mission Board Co President) had visited the proposed project operational areas in Jiri Municipality and had discussions with the identified project beneficiary communities before commencing the works.
On completion of the partnered Project activities, a two member team consisted of H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chisostomos Metropolitan and Mr. K.G. Mathaikutty, Project Advisor and Coordinator made a visit during 29th May and 2nd June 2017. In spite of various challenges faced by the actors in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase the project activities have been completed to the satisfaction and achieved its desired good impact.
Through this project Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church with the help of ICON Charities Inc and Mission Board, made a Good Samaritan’s image through heart to heart exchange of love and concern and recognition from the local government authorities, local communities and the recipients of the project benefits. In Nepal with its undulated topography, unpredictable climatic condition and versatile situation after the earthquake, implementation of such activities are very difficult. But with the professionalism, credibility, efficiency and acceptance of the partners in this project only we were able to complete the initiated early recovery activities building back better communities, while most of the post earthquake disaster activities by many other NGOs are lagging behind.
Project Dedication and Handing Over
The project output structures are dedicated and handed over to the communities on 31st May 2017 in the august presence of the Jiri Municipality Mayor, elected leaders of ruling and opposition political parties, District Education Officer and representatives of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and its units – ICON Charities Inc. and Mission Board, LWF Nepal, HURADEC Nepal, villagers, the school principal, teachers and students from the area.
Honorary Executive Secretary,
Malankara Orthodox Church Social and Humanitarian Action (MOCSHA)/
MOSC – ICON Charities Inc. Nepal Project Coordinator and Advisor,
Comments from Rev. Dr. Fr. Bijesh Philip, Principal, St Thomas Theological Seminary, Nagpur as posted in ICON Group:
Completion of the Nepal Earthquake Relief Project under the leadership of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Mission Board and ICON Charities according to the Blessed Kalpana of HH.Bava Thirumeni is a very gladdening news.
The project include eighteen earthquake resistant reasonably good houses, one School building with associated facilities and a water supply system with six public taps in a village called Pattitar in Dolaka district in Nepal where the Church’ s name is displayed on a board and love of God tasted by many beneficiaries.
This is a good example of love’s encouragement to go beyond borders. Such a love could be translated into action through this wonderful rehabilitation work primarily due to the genuine generosity and dedicated leadership of many lay persons. This kind of compassionate actions will indirectly strengthen the faith of our new generations and rejuvenate our interest in the church. This is the way God’s name is glorified.
At the completion of this kind of projects , it is desirable to acknowledge them properly in all important meetings like H.E.Synod, Managing Committee, Association and all important conferences with a Thanksgiving prayer.
We have to thank not only the contributors to this project but also to our brothers and sisters in Nepal who were kind enough to accept this gift/benefit. Thanking God for this good news as well as for the church’s timely meaningful involvement in the relief and rehabilitation works immediately after calamities like this on many occasions in the past also.
Bijesh Philip Achen