Emily escaped Nepal earthquake but is desperate to help
GRAFTON teenager Emily Ford escaped the Anzac Day earthquake in Nepal by a mere five days, but she is not experiencing any feelings of relief.
The devastated former Grafton High School student wishes she was still over there and helping out, although she has received a reality check on that one.
"When I said that to one of the people still over there, he just said I was better where I was, I would have been just another mouth to feed," Emily said.
Emily finished her HSC in 2013 and decided she would take a gap year and earn some money before going to uni.
Instead she found out about the work of the group Mountain Child, which works at improving the lives of Nepalese villagers.
"It has five areas where it helps to improve people's lives," she said.
"There's health, education, people trafficking, child labour and the environment."
She said people trafficking and child labour are endemic in the region.
"So many young Nepalese girls are taken from their villagers to work in India," she said.
"And child labour is a huge hindrance to education. Families are so poor they cannot afford to have their children go to school.
"If they have lessons it has to be very early in the morning so they can go and spend their day working in the fields."
Although safe in Australia, Emily is determined to help as much as she can.
She has began phoning schools in the area to see how they can help fundraising and is about to contact local businesses to see what help they can provide.
"I would like to be able to get some donations so I can raffle them to raise money," she said.
Emily said she would donate the money to Mountain Child to allow it to continue its work.
"It's a good group to donate money to," Emily said. "All the money goes to their work in Nepal, none of it is taken up in administration."
Her time in Nepal has been life changing.
Emily is about to embark on four years of teacher training at Newcastle University before heading back to Nepal.
"I can see myself being overseas for a long time," she said.
"You have to make sacrifices, say goodbye to friends, no hot water, no showers, washing in the river.
"But the rewards are worth it. Even in the short time I was there, it was so exciting to see how far children got to from where they came from.
"They're so ready to learn and so excited to about coming to school."
Meanwhile Emily is on the phone and social media tracking down her friends in the earthquake ravaged area.
"It's surreal. I haven't heard from so many of my friends that I was working with just a few weeks ago," Emily said.
"I see the villages where the earthquake happened and realise I was there not long ago.
"We visited most of the beautiful temples you now see on the news in ruins."
She said people would be surprised at how little they have to contribute to make a difference.
"They're so poor over there. Food is incredibly cheap," she said.
"You don't have to donate a lot to make a really big contribution to their lives."