Local dentist assists Nepal earthquake relief effort
Tsering’s Fund seeks donations
By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Senior Editor
BIG SKY – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25 rocked the mountainous country of Nepal, where more than 5,000 people were confirmed dead when EBS went to press on April 29. Aid workers are flooding Nepal to help with the relief effort in the capital city Katmandu and harder-to-reach villages throughout the country.
Dr. Peter Schmieding, a dentist practicing in Big Sky, Four Corners and Ennis, flew to Katmandu May 2 to help the stricken Nepalese. Schmieding has a long history of charitable work in Nepal – in 2007 he started Tsering’s Fund with his wife Karen Fellerhoff and Tsering Dolkar Lama, a Tibetan woman living in Katmandu.
Tsering’s Fund is a nonprofit that uses donations to fund education, room and board, uniforms and books for disadvantaged girls in Nepal from where Schmieding and Fellerhoff have three adopted daughters.
All donations support the Nepalese girls, and any administrative costs are paid out-of-pocket by the founders, according to Schmieding. He has set up a donation page on the Tsering’s Fund website for people hoping to donate to the earthquake relief effort.
Schmieding said he received help from the Gallatin Valley community ahead of his trip, and Brett Fontaine, the pharmacist at Bozeman’s Rosauers grocery store, facilitated a $250 donation of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories from the grocer for Schmieding to take with him.
“We have a bank account here [in Big Sky] to purchase supplies here or in Nepal,” Schmieding said. “We’ll be judicious to the point of use and will have access to the money over there.”
In addition to monetary donations, Tsering’s Fund is in need of surgical and other medical supplies, as well as solar chargers for satellite and cell phones, tents, and water purifiers and purification tablets, which can be dropped off at Schmieding’s dental offices in Big Sky and Four Corners. Schmieding says the outpouring of support on social media has been incredible.
“With the social network, [communication is] so much more effective than it used to be,” he said, adding that he has also been able to connect with his contacts on the ground, including Sherap Jangbu Sherpa, the owner of Panorama Lodge in Namche Bazaar, where 10 of Tsering’s Funds’ girls are schooled.
“Lost our school building … [the ground is] still shaking,” Jangbu wrote in a Facebook message to Schmieding on April 28.
Visit tseringsfund.com/take-action and click the “Earthquake Relief” button to donate. Medical supplies, solar chargers, tents and water purification tablets can be dropped off at Schmieding’s offices in Four Corners at 380 Ice Center Lane or at 47520 Gallatin Road, 1B in Big Sky.