Friday, October 23, 2020

Israeli, Japan embassies help Gandharva Community

 Israeli and Japan embassies in Kathmandu are jointly providing emergency food assistance to the underprivileged Gandharva Community around Kathmandu and Pokhara through collaboration with a Japanese International NGO, Japan International Support Programme (JISP).

With the financial contribution from the government of Israel, JISP is providing a vital good assistance to approximately 1,000 most vulnerable Gandharva people during the most auspicious festivals of Dashain and Tihar, reads a press note issued by the embassy in Kathmandu. “The goods include basic food items such as rice, lentils, oil and vegetables,” it reads, adding that soap bars and masks are provided at this challenging time of Covid-19. “The Gandharva communities located in Kathmandu were donated goods today and the goods will be sent for the community in Pokhara soon.”

Expressing happiness to be able to contribute to the Gandharva Musician’s Community of Nepal, ambassador of Israel to Nepal Benny Omer said, “In these difficult times of Covid-19 Pandemic, we are happy to be able to assist vital humanitarian needs to the wonderful community in Nepal. Wishing you all Happy and Peaceful Dashain and Tihar.”

“It is our priority to deliver basic food package to the vulnerable people as soon as possible, as the Nepali people are entering into one of the most festive seasons, Dashain and Tihar, in the midst of the serious challenges they are experiencing due to the influence of Covid-19,” representative director of JISP Mayumi Yoshida said, adding that they are working with some of the best traditional musicians of Nepal to fundraise for the most vulnerable.

This is the first collaboration between the Embassy of Israel and the Japanese International NGO. The Gandharvas of Nepal are keepers of one of the world's great musical traditions, a tradition recognised by UNESCO as Intangible World Heritage. For centuries, they have been the musicians of Nepal. Gandharvas depend on tourism for much of their livelihood and income. Their primary source of income is often building Sarangis which they sell to tourists in Kathmandu.  However, due to the on-going Covid-19 crisis, tourists are no longer freely coming in and out of Nepal, and many of the Gandharvas, especially of the villages, have lost their ways of making a living.

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