A big mountain to climb as tragedy continues to unfold


Posted on: 5th May, 2015

Category: Features

Contributor: West Cork People

Having established just-one in 2004, Declan Murphy of Clonakilty now lives and works in Kathmandu, Nepal where, with the kind support of the people of West Cork, just-one’s operation continues to go from strength to strength. Further information on this grass-roots organisation and its valuable work can be found at www.just-one.org. Much needed donations can be made via the web-site or, preferably, directly to the just-one’s Irish bank account (# 87135118 / Sort Code 90-26-10). Declan is always happy to field individual and specific enquiries about the project and can be easily contacted by email (declan@just-one.org). www.just-one.org.

Despite having known for over 10 years that it was only a matter of time before the long overdue “big one” eventually struck Kathmandu, I’m nonetheless shocked by the seeming carnage left in the wake of the massive earthquake which ripped through the Himalayas on May 25th last. While I certainly feel relieved to be safe and sound here in Clonakilty and not causing my family any undue stress or worry, I also have a certain sense of regret that I’m not there with a better understanding of the actual situation there.

Thankfully, communications with friends and colleagues back there have been good enough since the disaster struck to allow me learn that all the children and families that just-one works with are safe and well. I did however also learn the unimaginably tragic news that one of our residential care staff has unfortunately lost five members of his family.

The sad reality of the sheer devastation that continues to unfold across my second homeland though is such that I feel we can regard ourselves as fortunate to have escaped any further tragedy in all of this. With the aftershocks now all but stopped, my colleagues in Kathmandu are slowly coming to terms with the mammoth task that lies ahead in helping those we work to support to pick up the pieces and start the daunting process of rebuilding their lives.

These are lives they’d already struggled with before this horrific tragedy and, being honest, I’m still not exactly sure how each individual family has fared through all of this or how big a mountain each of them may have to climb now. I do know that the family home of a lad who finished his Leaving Cert exams a couple of months ago has been completely destroyed along with most others in his rural village. Thankfully both he and his family escaped without serious injury, but it’s only now that their real struggle begins.

It was with examples like this mind, when I wrote in the most recent blog post on our website that while just-one wouldn’t be directly involved in the major disaster relief efforts beginning to roll out across Nepal, we would nevertheless be in dire need of additional funds to help us meet the emergency needs of the children and families we already work with. I’ve no doubt too, that my colleagues in Kathmandu will reach out to whatever additional needy children and/or families that may come their way over the days and weeks ahead, but it can only be on a scale that our resources allow for.

I’m already encouraged that the unfailing generosity of the people of West Cork will help ensure that, by the time my planned return to Kathmandu comes ‘round towards the end of the month, we’ll have managed to secure a significant portion of the required funds for all that now lies ahead. With a night at Old School Yoga in Darrara having already raised almost €400, the Clonakilty Lions Club very kindly organising a Coffee Morning in aid of our work on Friday, May 1 (from 10am – 12.30pm at The Emmet Hotel in Clonakilty) and just-one’s local committee here doing likewise for Sunday May 3 (9am – 1pm) in the Parish Centre in Clonakilty (opposite Centra), it’s clear the enormity of what’s currently unfolding in Nepal isn’t lost upon our incredible community here.

If any of you reading this feel that you, your family, friends and/or work colleagues might also be interested in sending some desperately needed support to those in Nepal, please do give just-one some consideration. As ever, you can be assured that it’s money that will be put to the very best of use for the benefit of those we work with and will be instrumental in allowing us to continue helping those less fortunate to create brighter futures for themselves – and at a time as dark and troubling as this, I can scarcely think of anything more appropriate for us to continue doing over the coming weeks and months. Whatever financial assistance you might be willing and able to give us in that regard over the coming months would, of course, be greatly appreciated.

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One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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