Local Philanthropist Carries Out Mission Work in Nepal
SAN ANGELO, TX - Local philanthropist Terry Mikeska and his sister, Rebekah Ocker, recently returned from a mission trip to Nepal. On this latest mission, Terry and Rebekah spent eight days on the eastern side of Nepal where they completed six big projects, working diligently to fulfill important needs every single day.
From delivering rice pots and much-needed supplies to sharing water purification systems and visiting the orphanages and providing clothing, personal care products, and knitted items, Mikeska and Ocker were driven to help as many people as possible in the poverty-stricken and more remote areas of the country. Mikeska began his philanthropic work in Nepal after a devastating earthquake in 2015 left the people in need of basic necessities.
Mikeska had formed a personal connection to Nepal after becoming Facebook friends with Sujan and Rajan Kaffle. Over the years and with the help of the internet, their relationship grew and Mikeska helped them attend college to earn their degrees.
When the 2015 earthquake hit Nepal, many people died and many children and elderly were left without parents or caregivers.
Mikeska learned that people had spent days under tarps, in rainy conditions with little food. Mikeska knew he had to help however he could and asked Rajan and Sujan to drive around and take pictures of the damage in the area.
He noticed that what most people needed were rice pots to boil water and cook their food. Most of the pictures showed people digging in the trash looking for cans or anything they could use for this purpose.
Realizing what was needed the most, Mikeska established his first mission trip. He named his project, Fill the Rice Pot. When people found out about his mission trip, he received numerous donations and raised $17,000, along with several knitted hats and caps that were given by volunteers.
“I am humbled by all the people that hear my story and want to help every year.” said Mikeska, “I couldn’t do this without them,” he shares.
In 2017, Mikeska helped build a school with less than $10,000 after a generous donation from a San Angelo community member and philanthropist. A U.S. dollar goes a very long way in Nepal and the citizens of Nepal are extremely willing and happy to volunteer their time and labor so that all donations can be put towards supplies.
“I try to stretch every dollar, and rarely incur any expenses, because I want all donations to go towards helping the people of Nepal,” Mikeska explains.
To ensure the vast majority of the funds can be used for projects, Mikeska uses sky miles for his mission trips and packs very lightly to allow more room for supplies in his luggage. He stays with friends in the villages and enlists their negotiation skills to ensure the best prices are achieved for the supplies needed for each project.
He plans to go back to Nepal later this year and would like to tackle some bigger projects, like expanding the restrooms and kitchens in the orphanages, along with delivering more supplies and hats. One of the first things he delivered on his initial mission trip was a box of knitted hats and baseball caps that had been donated by volunteers.
Since 2015 more than 5,000 knitted and crocheted hats, gloves and headbands have been made and donated to the people of Nepal. Ladies from San Angelo and as far away as the United Kingdom continue to make these hats.
“Each time I go on these trips, I see my friends with their knitted hats and caps, and they have taken such care of them; just cherishing what they have,” said Mikeska.
For Ocker, it was an emotional experience. “It was very difficult to handle at times, and overwhelming, to see the needs of the children in these poor villages” she stated.
Mikeska and Ocker’s trip was generously funded by Ocker’s employer, the CEO of HMS, the company she works for in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Visit www.terrymikeskafoundation.org to see hundreds of photos and videos of the most recent 2019 mission.
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