Anicca: Help the Fire Victims of Varkala

Life can change in seconds and everything you built can go up in flames in less than 30 minutes.  Fire is a hell of a lesson in aniccathe Buddhist concept of impermanence.  We control nothing.

It is rare that I ask people to donate money to any cause but I and a friend in Varkala, India want to raise $100,000 to help the victims of a massive fire.  Varkala is where I held my first yoga retreat in India, 2013 and where I plan to hold another one next year.  My friend is a guesthouse owner in Varkala and she will be the one to distribute the money equally among the victims.

As many readers know, India is my second home and Varkala, a small coastal town in Kerala, and its people have a very special place in my heart. It is where I will most likely conduct yoga teacher trainings in the future.  I hope to live there part-time.

On Friday morning, April 17th, a massive fire happened in Varkala in the area called Tibetan Market. Almost 15 shops were gutted, three restaurants destroyed, and other buildings were damaged. According to local newspapers the fire started due to sparks from overhead electric lines near the area.  The sparks fell on a roof made from combustible material and combined with exploding propane gas canisters in restaurants, the fire spread rapidly.  People barely escaped with their lives.  The Tibetan families are left with nothing – no shops, no money, and no homes.  They are living in a temporary housing with food being donated to them.  The youngest homeless child is barely 2 weeks old.

varkala fire 4
Photo credit Time Out Varkala

Unlike in the West the victims do not have insurance and do not have any support except from private initiatives.  India does not have public service relief agencies as the West does.

The only consolation is that no lives were lost and it happened after tourist season, however, the victims absolutely need to start rebuilding homes, shops, and restaurants now before tourists start arriving later this year.

The official estimated loss is Rs.30 Lakhs — that is about US$50,000 or 45000 EUR, but that is only a very preliminary estimate, twice that amount is needed to rebuild.  To that end, I created a crowdfunding page on GoFundMe.  In the sidebar it says that this blog has over 800 followers.  If everyone donated a mere $25, that would raise about $20,000.  That is over a million rupees which is a huge amount of money in India and many could rebuild.  The gofundme page has already raised $1,000, however there are administrative fees that are deducted from that amount.

I hope Linda’s Yoga Journey readers can find it in their hearts and souls to donate something, even if it’s $10!  You can donate very easily on this link:

Know anyone with deep pockets?  Maybe some of you know know a person who can donate hundreds or even thousands of dollars so please share!

In metta, thank you!

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