A Message from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) Professor Anne Cummins
Published: Monday 4th May 2015
This month I have asked Dristi Hamal, who participates in Student Jobs on Campus in our office, to write my piece. I think you will find it timely and interesting.
With every good wish
Professor Anne Cummins
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning & Teaching)
Australia is a beautiful country – vibrant, with a unique diversity affording peace and harmony, even in its vastly multi-cultural society. Many international students like me come to Australia to experience a new lifestyle, to gain further education and to experience a different culture. Australia promotes quality education and protects international students. It is a very popular destination for many Nepali students like me. I am currently pursuing my postgraduate MBA/MPA at ACU's North Sydney Campus. I have lived in Australia for five years and have returned to Nepal several times during this period.
Nepal is known for its mysterious and dramatic scenery. The capital city of Kathmandu is a beautiful, hilly city filled with ancient temples, traditional cultures, lovely people and splendid architecture. A city with a history spanning 2000 years, Kathmandu is littered with the temples of Nepal’s predominant faiths - Hinduism and Buddhism.
Saturday 25 April was an ordinary day in Nepal. Families were enjoying their day off. On Saturdays many families have a re-union and enjoy meals together. Some go for outings to nearby viewing towers or water parks, while others might go mountain biking and rock climbing. Others engage in charitable activities, extending their helping hands to the needy. Almost all Nepalese are pious and most visit the temple at least once every Saturday. Life goes on …
But on this particular Saturday, coinciding with Anzac Day in Australia, suddenly everything familiar and normal was turned on its head as, with no warning, the world started shuddering and jolting. In no time, chaos and panic took hold and thousands of people perished under debris and rubble. The entire country was changed.
In the wake of the earthquake, children have lost their parents and families have lost their near and dear ones. Scores of world heritage sites have been destroyed. The UN has reported that eight million people have been affected by the quake with more than 600,000 houses either damaged or destroyed.
Eight days after the deadly earthquake, Nepal is now transitioning from search-and-rescue efforts to relief-and-rehabilitation. Numerous settlements that have been hit hard by the quake are yet to see sufficient relief. The challenging mountainous geography of Nepal makes it much more difficult for aid and support to reach people quickly. The immediate crisis of lack of hygiene, food, sanitation and shelter poses a formidable challenge to the nation after this unprecedented tragedy. The need to restore these basic human necessities with urgency is critical.
A desperate situation calls for a generous and compassionate solution and it is important that we at ACU mobilize those who can help the Nepalese people to come out of this humanitarian crisis.
The Nepalese students at ACU are far from home and may be experiencing emotional stress. Families of some students are still missing and some families that have lost their homes are sleeping outdoors with makeshift tents over their heads. Mutual support in such times of crisis is essential.
In the midst of death and destruction there are always heart- warming stories of generosity, kindness and altruism. Humans are gifted with amazing resilience, and we trust Nepal will rise again to rebuild a better nation. Life must go on and everything is slowly coming back to normal. We continue to keep Nepal in our thoughts and prayers.
Contributed by: Ms Dristi Hamal (Nepali Postgraduate MBA/MPA Student)