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Advice for students from Nepal

Thursday 14 May 2015 International students

There are several services supporting people to connect with each other inside and outside of Nepal. While there are new ones being reported each day, below are a few which have been widely supported:

Contacting Friends and Family in Nepal

Nepali authorities have advised those seeking to make contact with individuals in Nepal to text them rather than call, to avoid overwhelming the existing phone lines.

Google Person Finder

Google Person Finder is a web application that allows individuals to post and search for the status of relatives or friends affected by a disaster. The application also allows input from press agencies, non-governmental agencies and others to allow for more people to be identified. 

Facebook Safety Check

Facebook Safety Check allows facebook users to 'mark themselves as safe' by notifying people who they identify as near a natural disaster and asking if they are safe. When someone marks themselves as safe, it lets their list of friends know. Facebook users can also check a list of friends who may be affected by the disaster.

Viber Free calls for Nepali users

Viber Out has extended free calls for all Nepali users. This allows Nepali subscribers to the web app to make domestic and international calls to mobile and landlines for a certain period. 

Nepali diaspora groups are also helping to track down people inside Nepal.

Getting money into and out of Nepal

Banks in Nepal are not allowing bank transfers free of charge. For the most part, those that are still operating are allowing transfers of money at their usual rates.

Western Union Money Transfers have announced that they will make their service free for transfers into Nepal, to allow funds to reach friends and family. 

There is a ‘no-fee’ money transfer transaction program from participating Western Union Agent locations in Europe and other countries until 14 May 2015 and for customers with Western Union online and mobile services this is available until 31 May 2015 with the promotion code NEPALRELIEF2015.  For more information please see the link above.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties because your sponsor, family or friends are not able to send maintenance or tuition fees please speak to your Students’ Union or University/College as soon as possible. 

If you are a final year student studying in London you may be eligible for the Mary Trevelyan Hardship Fund. The fund is by application only so - visit for more information.

Travelling to Nepal

Travelling to Nepal at this time may be difficult as travel infrastructure has been damaged and is also being used for aid purposes. It is recommended that students looking to travel ensure they are making informed decisions and consider the infrastructure for travel and once you arrive.  Nepal needs skilled assistance such as medial personnel and rescue workers at the moment and anyone interested in traveling to Nepal should contact the Nepali Embassy here for more information on how you could help.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising again all but essential travel to Nepal. Due to the frequency of earthquakes and the risk of further aftershocks, landslides, and avalanches in the mountains travel to and within Nepal is not advised.  There has been extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure and with Monsoon season beginning as early as June, further damage is expected.

Well-being Support

The earthquake is a tragic event for all those impacted, both here and in Nepal.  This is an extremely distressing and worrying time and it can be helpful to have someone to speak to. 

Speak to the counselling service at your Students’ Union or University/College, if you feel like speaking to somebody.  Other services may also be available through your Students’ Union or University/College so get in touch.

If you study in London you may be a member of the International Students House which runs a free and confidential welfare service The service provides practical advice on a range of issues as well as information on where to go for problems that are best addressed to other services.

NUS International Students’ Officer Shreya Paudel, from Nepal, says:

'It is totally understandable that you might need emotional and psychological help at this moment. At the same time, please do remember that we are the lucky ones in a relatively safe country. We have come here to study, Nepal will benefit the most after we return home and serve it with whatever we have learnt from here. If we are healthy, then only we can offer help in Nepal'

Fundraising for Nepal

There are various charities like Oxfam, and Save The Children UK who have been collecting funds for the earthquake victims. Likewise, you can text ‘NEPAL’ to 70123 to donate £5 to UNICEF. Similarly, various individuals are collecting funds themselves through Go Fund Me.

£1 equals Rs 153. A single pound can buy at least two meals in Nepal so any donation will help.

Please feel free to contact Shreya Paudel, NUS International Students Officer, if you want to get involved in raising funds together for Nepal. Read Shreya's reaction to the earthquake here.

Image: Russell Watkins/DFID