Local News

Long-time Nepal volunteer, Denise Coriell, speaks to KMS community

Courtesy of KMS

Denise Coriell

KILLINGTON — The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal mid-day on April 25 has been a topic of conversation and concern worldwide, including at Killington Mountain School. With the death toll of over 7,000, according to the Nepali government’s estimate released Sunday, May 3, the 7.8 magnitude quake devastated the region and has left countless people homeless, injured and in need of assistance. The U.N. has estimated the quake affected 8.1 million people — more than a quarter of Nepal’s 28 million people.

Killington resident, business owner, and alumni parent Denise Coriell visited Killington Mountain School this week to speak about her work in Nepal, educating the students on the area, its people, and discussing what they could do to help at this time of crisis.

Coriell showed pictures of the region and discussed her work there as a part of the Tara Foundation. In 2007, the Tara Foundation was formed by Denise’s friend, Leeli Bonney, to raise funds for a variety of projects, mainly in the Khumbu and Solukhumbu regions of eastern Nepal. Before forming the foundation, Bonney had taken a trip to Nepal and seen firsthand the tremendous need for aid in the area. What started with a few fleece jacket donations, has turned into over 3,000 jackets donated, bridges built, and multiple service projects completed in both hospitals and schools.

Coriell showed students a map of Nepal and the surrounding countries, pinpointing the region where the earthquake struck, an area where she has traveled multiple times, working with sherpas in the area, some of whom have become dear friends.

The quake caused an avalanche on Everest, which created tremendous wind gusts, blowing everything out of base camp. The tremendous wind gust combined with earthquake aftershocks (over 70 have been reported) have injured people, crumbled structures, and left individuals out on the streets, afraid to return to their homes even if they were still standing for fear that they will crumble due to structural weakness.

Nepal Information Minister Minendra Rijal released a statement saying that the government has supplied only 29,000 tents to an estimated 400,000 displaced people.

The students and staff were left with the obvious question: “What can we do to help?”

Coriell shared the names of several organizations that are equipped to fulfill immediate needs in Nepal and encouraged students and their families to donate directly through their websites: Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation, Good Weave, DZI Foundation, Amerian Nepal Medical Foundation, and Mercy Corps were among the organizations she recommended.

In addition, the Tara Foundation is accepting donations to continue its ongoing work, and Coriell said that the foundation will begin to evaluate the needs of the Sherpa people and will step in and help build and rebuild where necessary.

Finally, the members of Killington Mountain School’s National Honor Society have joined together to create a fundraiser for the victims of the Nepal earthquake. The students will be selling t-shirts they designed ,the proceeds of which will all be sent to the Tara Foundation to help continue its ongoing work in the region.

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