Letter of Principles of Obrigado Portugal Association.
October 7th 2015
The experience lived by Pedro Queirós and Lourenço Macedo Santos after Nepal’s earthquake on April 25th of 2015 is awe inspiring. Caught in the middle of a tragedy that lead to the death of 8,000 people, these two young Portuguese men chose to stay in Nepal and volunteer their time and talents to helping victims of the greatest earthquake to hit Nepal in 80 years. It was then, just four days after the earthquake that the mission "Obrigado Portugal, nós também somos Nepal" (Thank you Portugal, we are also Nepal) was born — a life changing decision for everyone involved.
In the following weeks more people joined the team.
The wave of solidarity that spread throughout Portugal upon hearing the damage report shows just how powerful social media and the Internet can be. A true phenomenon worth sociological analysis.
Perhaps it was their pride in being Portuguese, their youthful spirit and the lack of bureaucracy coupled with the encouraging news from the ground that lead to a sweeping donation campaign. Thousands of generous souls, wanting to be a part of solution, wired money and donated supplies to the project.
Volunteers came from Portugal and around the world, men and women expecting nothing in return and using their own resources to make the journey to Nepal, gathered with one simple goal — to help the victims of this devastating tragedy.
We do it for the welcoming people of Nepal. The mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, orphans and strangers. But mostly we do it for the children. It is such a delight to see joy in the eyes of boys and girls, young ones who are happy and free, laughing and smiling and yes, grateful for even the smallest of things.
The press picked up the story and it became international news featured in the United States, Japan and Brazil among other countries.
“The Courage to Make a Difference”, was the header on the May 7, 2015 cover of Visão magazine, following the mission — Obrigado Portugal, nós também somos Nepal.
The donations received have enabled the mission to fund different initiatives, some completed others still Ongoing. The projects that Obrigado Portugal Association are involved in:
- Immediate Relief Aid: Providing food, drinking water and other supplies in the 4 weeks immediately following the earthquake;
- Project Saudade: The building of 22 semi-permanent houses in the village of Bistagaon. Coordinated by volunteers Maria da Paz Braga and Walmyr Freire. (Completed December 2015);
- Project Camp Hope: Building and administrating a camp for 350 displaced Nepali people in the center of Kathmandu. (Ongoing);
- Project Roots: Consulting and Financing for the construction of fifty permanent houses for displaced families in the Kathmandu Valley. (Ongoing).
Moved by the passion, skills and common sense of the volunteers and partners, these projects were accomplished almost spontaneously, allowing for greater flexibility and the capacity to make adjustments on the fly. That combined with great physical and mental effort were the prime ingredients necessary to work in this catastrophic environment.
Six months after the earthquakes, Pedro Queirós and Lourenço Macedo Santos understood the crucial need to continue the spirit of the mission Obrigado Portugal, nós também somos Nepal, but realized that to carry forward they needed to do so in a more structured environment.
So they decided to create the Obrigado Portugal Association.
By maintaining the principles that have been present since the beginning of the mission — transparency, hard work, altruism, responsibility, passion and courage as evidenced by our current projects, such as My Dream Village — the experience and knowledge we have gained will allow us to apply these same principles and skills to disaster relief anywhere in the world.
Signed in Kathmandu in October 7th 2015.
Lourenço Macedo Santos
Maria da Paz Braga