Prints for Nepal: a Q&A with Anica James

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I had the great fortune to meet a young lady that, for me, exemplifies all that is good for humanity. She approached me to support her cause to help the people of Nepal after the earthquake on April 25. Her name is Anica James. In a very short time I came to the conclusion that she definitely had a personal attachment to the people of Nepal and and their Epileptic Association as she herself suffers from the disease. I concluded that her beautiful images of Nepal would look amazing on our William Turner Fine Art Paper, so in the end we sponsored her fundraiser with prints for Nepal that she could sell through crowdfunding. We couldn't be more proud of being part of Anica James' selfless work for people far away from here.

Here is a little Q&A with Anica.

How does the state of Nepal’s infrastructure affect those afflicted with epilepsy in that country as a result of the earthquake?

Nepal is a very underdeveloped country where, unfortunately, the government does not give any money towards its healthcare system. Hospitals and clinics rely heavily on international, private and public funding, which they do receive, but sometimes it is not enough. There are less than twenty neurologists in the whole country, and for those living with epilepsy life can be very isolating and overwhelming. Access to medication, support from specialists, and community understanding of this highly stigmatized condition is very limited to many.

Due to the earthquake, people are now running out of the medication they need and some patients are now homeless. Head injuries, lack of water and sleep, as well as high levels of stress can cause seizures, which is a constant fear for some epileptics. Many of Nepal's epileptics live in remote rural areas of the country, where the access roads have been destroyed or blocked by the earthquake and its aftershocks, making it even more difficult for them to receive the specific modern medical aid they need. 

How would you like to see the money you raised be used to help the Nepal Epilepsy Association?

Many of the patients with epilepsy have to take medicine on a daily basis in order to control their seizures, but now, due to the recent and devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015, thousands of people are displaced, and do not have access to the medical care that they need. Due to the state of emergency, the Nepal Epilepsy Association has used a large portion of its money purchasing tents and whatever supplies they can get to help those in need, which is fine for the time being, but they are still going to need help in months- even years- to come. By donating to my campaign, 100% of the money will be donated to and used by the associations’ staff (most of whom represent the only neurosurgeons in Nepal), to purchase and distribute medicine, replace medical equipment and generators, and to help repair and rebuild their medical clinics that have been damaged.

Travelling back to Nepal and continuing my documentary project with the NEA, now, will be totally different, because the urban landscape has changed significantly. Along with its affects on health, I think that it is important to show how much the earthquake has had an impact on the human geography: culturally, historically, economically and developmentally. On my next visit, I plan on spending more time with individual patients, recording their story and matching it up with imagery, focusing more on a multimedia project. My main goal with this project is to help raise awareness about epilepsy and to combat the stigma around the disorder.