“As a Nepali, I felt like I had a family at CEU. Everyone gave their all to help fundraise even though it was a busy time of the school year,” said Shaileshwori Sharma (MPA ’16). Shaileshwori was part of a team of CEU students that initiated a fundraising campaign to help communities in need in Nepal when the country was hit by the worst earthquake in its history in April this year.
For one month, CEU students mobilized across the university as “Budapest for Nepal” to support AYON (Association of Youth Organizations Nepal). “I’m familiar with this organization,” Shaileshwori explained. “I know them as a group of motivated youth who are doing great work at the community level to help those who were hit hardest by the earthquakes.”
To promote their cause at the university, students set up information tables in the main building of the university as part of a donation drive. Chuah Ee Chia (MPA ’16), who spent considerable time with Shaileshwori and other students involved in the campaign, added. “We especially wanted to help the people of Nepal because we felt a deep connection to Nepal through Shai(leshwori).”
As the campaign gained momentum, more and more people from the CEU community got involved. “One day, one of our classmates, Katalin Nemeth, offered to bake muffins for a charity bake sale,” said Ee Chia. “It was a huge success. After this, many people – from Dean Wolfgang Reinicke’s daughter and SPP staff to students from other departments – volunteered to bake goods. It was a completely organic outpouring of support.”
As Budapest for Nepal approached the end of its fundraising month, Shaileshwori and Ee Chia with the help of others made over 200 Nepalese dumplings (momo) for a final lunch sale. “The dumplings were a huge hit,” Shaileshwori noted. “We had people lining up to try these and learn more about our campaign!” In that one day, they raised close to 100,000 forints (more than $350), an amount that far exceeded their initial expectations.
In addition to receiving cash donations through the bake sales at their information table, Budapest for Nepal also raised funds online. Their online donation through the Indiegogo crowdsourcing channel saw both strangers and CEU communities coming together to support the cause. In total, they collected $3,000. $2,000 will go directly to AYON as promised in their Indiegogo campaign, and $1,000 will go to support relief efforts in Taji village in Lamjung district, the epicenter of the first earthquake that struck on April 25, 2015.
Budapest for Nepal was successful in large part due to the efforts and enthusiasm of a team of dedicated friends and volunteers. Working closely with Shaileshwori and Ee Chia, the core of the team included Suluck Fai Lamubol (MPA ‘16), Vu Giang (MPA ‘16), Elmira Nessipbayeva (MPA ’16), Saman Sardar (MPA ’16), Katalin Nemeth (MPA ‘16), Sampreety Gurung (GEMMA ‘15), and Kaustubh Thapa (MESPOM ’15). The campaign also received great support from HRSI and the CEU Student Life Office.
The campaigners would like to thank these exceptional contributors from the CEU community who helped by baking/cooking or through other measures: Dean Wolfgang Reinicke, Kirsten Reinicke, Sophia Reinicke, Simona Gamonte, Daniel Baranya, Lucia Sobekova, Felipe Feferonik, Edward Branagan, Ilona Ilma Ilyes, Shirlene Afshar Vogl, Tentashi Tseten, Bernadett Fekete, and Gabor Rebi.