More than 40 students, faculty, and staff members encircled the steps of Parrish Hall on Wednesday night in support of Nepal earthquake victims, candles illuminating thair faces, their voices striking tones of empathy and resolve.
The student group Swarthmore for Nepal organized the vigil to reflect on “how an incident like this, thousands of miles away, is still felt and reverberates on our campus,” says co-organizer Sabrina Singh ’15, an Honors political science major from Kathmandu, Nepal.
The vigil started with a moment of silence for those affected by the disaster, before candles were lit. Community members then spoke openly, providing solace to the students from Nepal in particular.
“What terrified me the most was being unable to help my family, to help my friends,” said co-organizer Veda Khadka ’16, a biology major from Kathmandu.
“I could have been one of the people who died,” added co-organizer Rajnish Yadav ’18, of Kathmandu. “The thought of that scares me so much.”
Other attendees expressed sympathy before the discussion shifted to what could be done to help those affected by the disaster. As co-organizer Abha Lal ’18 of Kathmandu tells The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore for Nepal started a clothing drive as well as a fundraising campaign via Nepal Ko Yuwa, a nonprofit organization founded by Pukar Malla ’02.
“I hope we can do all that we can to assist the people of Nepal in whatever ways possible,” said Amer Ahmed, dean of the sophomore class and director of the Intercultural Center, who lived in Nepal for four months. “It’s a unique and special place.”
To close the ceremony, community members shared a collective embrace. They streamed down Magill Walk, their smiles and laughs revealing rejuvenation, as the campus returned to its normal rhythms.