I originally wrote this for Republica.
KATHMANDU, May 7: Once as a young actor and director of some Nepali music videos and award-winning documentaries, Jaswant Dev Shrestha, whose passion has led him to work in the Hollywood industry, is now on a fundraising drive to help earthquake victims in Nepal.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 25 and aftershocks has claimed around 8,000 lives and left tens of thousands others displaced in a dozen districts, which the government has declared as crisis zone in the aftermath of disaster.
To materialize his passion to work in Hollywood, Shrestha is now living in Los Angeles but his affection for his motherland and its people made him swarm in all his relief assistance to the quake victims.
From a country which is very far from Nepal, his efforts in fundraising, coordination and finally distribution to the affected people back home shows his incredible works, which is only possible by working round the clock.
Shrestha’s team in Nepal, which he mentions on his Facebook page as ‘#TeamJaswant’ has reached out with immediate relief materials to assist the victims from parts of all the districts affected by the earthquake.
Shrestha told Republica that his team from Pokhara, among the very few, distributed immediate relief materials to the earthquake victims in Laprak and Barpak of Gorkha District. The latter was the epicenter of the first earthquake. Thereafter, Indian Air Force helicopters had landed there with government relief assistance.
So far, he has managed to provide with immediate relief materials worth US$10,000 to the victims in various affected areas through his team, according to Shrestha.
“Jaswant is a real superhero to help the quake victims in need,” American Indian Sonia Bhalla writes on his Facebook page.
The lady working in Hollywood is one of them supporting his campaign.
When asked why he could not contribute his donation to the Prime Minister’s relief fund, Shrestha said, “Government procedure may delay immediate relief support to those in need, so we decided to rush to the remote parts of affected areas first.”He added that the government is doing wonderful jobs to respond to the victims. “Credits go to the Nepali security forces, especially Nepal Army, Nepal Police and foreign rescue teams and international communities,” he said. Shrestha’s volunteers in different states of America and back in Nepal are working day and night to help, collect and distribute relief supplies to the victims. He has dedicated teams for Kathmandu, Pokhara, Gorkha, Dhading, Kavrepalanchok and Nuwakot right now. Following the relief support, Jaswant also plans to spend the funds raised through his campaigns in rehabilitation.
“I’m very grateful to generous donors, volunteers and my teammates for encouraging the initiatives taken in the aftermath of the disasters,” he said. “Together, we can rebuild the nation and make a difference in the lives of victims.”
Jaswant has bagged the best actor in a leading role for his performance in his film The Treason. The film has also won two Audience awards in the New York Independent Film Festival and Blissfest. He has also appeared in a Facebook commercial, a few American TV series pilots and has also voiced Nepali and Indian characters in the Disney Animated movie The Planes.
To contribute to Jaswant’s appeal for humanitarian aid for earthquake victims in Nepal, visit the website of Earthquake Relief Fund for Nepal www.eqrfnepal.com.