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WQED To Host Benefit Concert For Nepal

The devastating earthquake in Nepal last month killed thousands and displaced many more as homes, schools and medical clinics were left decimated in the weeks that followed.

One local charity is reaching out.

“Plea for Nepal: Special Concert” will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Campbell Memorial Hospital at Chatham University. The show will feature performances from members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

All proceeds will go to the Brother’s Brother Foundation and be used exclusively for Nepali rebuilding efforts. There is no entry fee, but voluntary donations are suggested to be at least $15. There will also be a reception from 5:30 with light refreshments.

“We’re hoping to receive funds as free-will gifts from attendees to support the reconstruction efforts in Nepal," BBF President Luke Hingson said. "That could mean the rebuilding of homes, schools, clinics, that sort of thing."

BBF partnered with Himalayan Health Care, a Nepal-based charity, to support Dhading District Hospital, an earthquake-damaged facility just west of Kathmandu. The funds collected will go toward generators, medical supplies and food and logistical support for any medical staff brought in to support the emergency response.

“Many of these facilities have been damaged by the earthquake," Hingson said. "There have to be some repairs, (and) the supplies are exhausted because we’ve had so many people with injuries and other kinds of illnesses come in for treatment.”

The Nepalese economy is smashed, he said. Initial estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey suggested Nepal lost 35 percent of its gross domestic product with the first quake, though the country has long been considered one of Asia's poorest countries.

With so little money for redevelopment, Hingson said he hopes to give the hospital a financial boost so it can continue to function long term.

“It’s absolutely essential to get the people of Nepal back towards where they were with their own efforts, which will be extraordinary," he said. "They lived there; they want to have a better life."

Forbes Magazine reviewed the 50 largest charities this past winter and fond that BBF was one of the only two charities with a 100 percent rating for both fundraising efficiency and charitable commitment.

“We have a tradition of being cost effective. Not every organization is, but we pride ourselves in the idea that if money comes in, it should go to the targeted recipient,” Hingson said. “One of our promises for the Nepalese cash gifts is 100 percent in 100 percent out.."

Editor's Note: Concert sponsors include PSO, BBF, WQED and the Nepalese Community of Greater Pittsburgh.