The Venue Report was started by travelers and adventurers who embrace the opportunity to glimpse into other communities and locales around the world. Traveling has exposed us to the smallest of villages and the largest of cities, making us acutely aware of what the word community means, as we’ve seen the beauty of gathering in so many different settings. So, when a natural disaster hits any community on a mass scale, it’s not only impossible to ignore the implications but it’s heart wrenching to watch the imagery flood our news feeds as small villages crumple to dust.
The Nepal Earthquake
We could attempt to rattle off facts about the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, stating how nearly 9,000 people lost their lives and how more than 23,000 people reported injuries. We could cite the magnitude of each aftershock or attempt to explain the science behind the damage; we could reference the socio, economic and political impacts of the earthquake. But, here’s the thing: the statistics are still evolving. It’ll take years to fully understand how grand the devastation is for Nepal and in the meantime we’re all struggling to figure out what we can do to help with this overwhelming rebuilding process. There are essentially three things that are helpful in times like these – compassion, time and money.
So when we found out that photographers Nina and Wes were going to host their second Beyond Workshop in Nepal, to help raise money and assist the local community, we were once again reminded that there are incredible people in pockets all over the globe.
Next year they will return to Nepal where attendees will once again look out over the Himalayan mountains as they learn from some of the biggest hearts and talents in the industry, and more importantly, they will spend time loving on the beautiful people of Nepal.
A Workshop with a Cause
This year in early 2015, photography duo Nina and Wes hosted the Beyond Workshop in Nepal, just one month prior to the earthquake that would soon devastate the area. They hosted 10 creatives from around the world who flew there to embrace the culture, beauty and people of this tiny country.
Little did they know that Nepal would leave a larger imprint on their hearts than they would ever be prepared for.
As Reported by Nina and Wes Photography:
The days of the workshop were devoted to classroom sessions, and gorgeous styled shoots designed by Abany Bauer with florals by Type A Society. During the second half of the workshop, the group traveled back to Kathmandu and focused on street photography and volunteer work.
The first half of the workshop was spent in Nagarkot, Nepal, a tiny village overlooking the beautiful Himalayan mountains. Every morning, all of the vendors and attendees would wake to watch the sun rise over this achingly beautiful mountain range. If you had a keen eye, you could even spot Mt. Everest in the line of famous peaks.
We had a spread of spices that are found throughout Nepal and used in many of their cuisines. Bits of copper and brass can be seen with those elements, which were found and purchased in the streets of Kathmandu. Marigolds were central to the shoot, as you can see marigolds on any given street in Nepal. We loved seeing them draped over the bride who is wearing a stunning Carol Hannah dress that seemed to sparkle in the Nepali sunlight.
This is a workshop that seeks to inspire photographers to take the success in their businesses and make a positive impact on the world. This is accomplished through these classroom sessions and breathtaking styled shoots while doing hands on volunteer work in the local communities of Kathmandu, Nepal
Attendees were given the chance to volunteer in various ways, including, but not limited to, spending time with elderly women, and serving the elderly and disabled with the Missionaries of Charity (the group of nuns started by Mother Teresa).
100% of the profits from this workshop go to orphan care and human trafficking interception in Nepal. None of the vendors take any pay, and this year we were able to give almost $8,000 to those in need in Nepal! The first half of the workshop is spent in classroom sessions revolving around business, and the second half of the workshop is spent doing volunteer work in Nepal. We had an amazing group of people this year, that gave everything they could to help this workshop succeed. Each attendee had their own part to play, and as the days unfolded, it was a joy to see each one of them fall in love with the country of Nepal.
We were all affected tremendously by our time together in Nepal. To see the kind, strong and warm spirit of the Nepali people is something you can only truly understand and experience when you are sitting there with them...perhaps even sipping a cup of tea with them.
I think everyone agrees that while the shoots and classroom sessions were fabulous, it was the time with the Nepali people that affected us the most. And I think we all left Nepal with new ideas of how we want to run our businesses from here on out. We want to use our success to change the world for the better. And at the same time, hopefully, we are changed for the better.
A special thanks to Gautam Rai, our Nepali brother who made this workshop truly possible by arranging all of our lodging, meals, and volunteer opportunities. He was our translator throughout our time there, and he also helped our attendees see the importance of documenting the joy and warmth of the people of Nepal, over the poverty of Nepal. He and his wife, Rekha, along with 3 biological children, have adopted 11 beautiful girls, and have devoted their lives to orphan care, and are daily meeting the needs of others with what little they have.
Since the earthquake, Gautam has been out in the streets from morning til night helping others. He and his family are a beautiful example of love in action.
Sadly, people forget so quickly...and to add insult to injury, they just got a new constitution (Nepal actually hasn't had a real government in years) that India is not happy with, so India has halted all petrol going into Nepal. So right now, the Nepali people don't have access to gas for their vehicles or for cooking. My Nepali brother just posted a bunch of photos of his family cooking outside over a wood fire because they don't have gas. And that's the true spirit of the Nepalis right there. He wrote me this morning and told me that God is taking care of them, and that all is well. They rarely feel sorry for themselves, and they never feel entitled. They have a fighting spirit with loads of kindness to boot. I love Nepal!
You CAN Make A Difference
While our small efforts may feel futile and create only the tiniest of dents in these communities, those tiny dents really do add up, especially when we’re talking about providing shelter, food and water for the hundreds of thousands of people in need. So, where do you start?
The first way to help is by attending the next Beyond Workshop which is being held March 10-22, 2016. You can sign up here. Designed for those who desire to see change through action, you will be helping the local area and volunteer while learning and connecting with other creatives. Additionally, none of the vendors or sponsors are paid for their participation, and all proceeds are given back to the people of Nepal.
International Organizations We’re Rooting For:
TINY HANDS - Tiny Hands is another wonderful organization we’d love to send more support to; they work hard to protect children worldwide from trafficking and abandonment. In response to the earthquake, their efforts have been twofold: satisfying immediate shelter, food and water needs, and working on long term recovery efforts to protect those most vulnerable to exploitation. Tiny Hand provides children’s homes around the world and works closely with legal partners to convict human traffickers.
3 Seams: ’3E’ will give students the opportunity to finish their high-school years while at the same time, being trained, mentored, and encouraged to chase after their dreams. The end result? These young adults will, in the end, make a difference in their nation.
Photography: Nina & Wes Photography | Cinematography: Colletta Films | Event Design & Styling: Abany Bauer | Floral Design: Type A Society | Wedding Dress: Carol Hannah | Jewelry: Mickey Lynn | Hair & Makeup: Heather Smith | Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Shoot Location: The Fort Resort