Two Steyning women who import handmade products from Nepal families have raised big funds to support those affected by the earthquake.
Helen Hitchcock and Tracey Eaton of The Gallery at Cobblestone Walk in High Street, Steyning, were worried for the lives of three family businesses in Nepal that they regularly import from following the April earthquake disaster that killed 8,000 people.
When the recent terrible earthquake struck we had an awful gnawing sensation in our stomachsHelen Hitchcock
Helen said: “We import things like singing bowls, felt clothing and yak wool blankets from three separate families in Nepal, which is why when the recent terrible earthquake struck we had an awful gnawing sensation in our stomachs as we desperately tried to find out whether our families had survived and in what state.”
Eventually the women heard from the families who turned out to be safe, but their houses and businesses had been unfortunately destroyed.
To support those affected the most by the disaster, Helen and Tracey collected donations and managed to raise more than £1,500.
Helen continued: “Now the acute emergency is over, we have been talking to our families about how best we can help long term.
“They are sleeping under zinc, bamboo and plastics until the impending monsoon season is over, and then they will rebuild with their own hands.”
One of the suppliers, Kushal Gurung, whose village of 165 houses was decimated by the quake has accepted the shop owners’ kind offer to help rebuild the village school.
The women own a second shop, The Gallery at The Needlemakers in Lewes, which also sells the Nepalese products.
Helen said: “So now both our shops are adding a two or three pound Nepal surcharge to all our Nepalese goods for the foreseeable future in order to help them rebuild their lives.
“Many of our customers have been adding more than that. We are so thankful for people’s response to this crisis.”
In a surprise delivery, the shops recently received a shipment of yak wool blankets and shawls from Nepal.
“In all their troubles, they still wanted to honour their contracts,” added Helen.
The Steyning shop sells all things Indian and Nepalese, including cultural goods, homeware and clothing, and everything is sourced ethically .
For more details about the shop or to see how you can help Nepal disaster victims, visit www.facebook.com/TheCobblestoneGallery