A photographer is using her images of Nepal to raise relief funds –and raise awareness of the beauty of the country –following last month’s devastating earthquake.
Lithuanian photojournalist Berta Tilmantaite is selling photos from a trip she took to Nepal in 2013. She spent nearly a month in the country, spending a few days in Katmandu and then trekking for three weeks through the remote mountains.
“The best part [of the trip] was the mountain trek,” Tilmantaite recounted to FoxNews.com. I” have never spend more than a couple of days in the mountains before, so it was quite of a challenge. But I fell in love with Himalayas, local people and that mode of hiking. I’m sure I will be back there one day.”
Despite the hardship of hiking through one of the world’s largest mountain ranges, Tilmantaite said the kind people she met constantly amazed her.
“Local people in the mountains were incredible, always greeting on the way with “Namaste!”and smiling,” Tilmantaite. Though she rarely shot portraits before Nepal, the photographer found most people she encountered very willing to pose for her lens.
“They would compose themselves and just freeze for a few seconds, so I was able to get a lot of warm portraits. They are so beautiful, so calm, so strong. Their faces would blush and they would start modestly laughing after I showed them their portraits on the camera.”
When Tilmantaite first heard of massive earthquake that killed some 7,000 people—and injuring many more—her heart broke.
“It touched me like no other natural disaster in the world had done before. During that trip and during the hike in Himalayas I guess I’ve made some sort of a bond with those mountains and local people,” Tilmantaite says.
Now she has set up an online shop to sell prints of Nepal and its people before the devastating earthquake. One hundred percent of the money Tilmaintaite makes from sales of these photographs will go towards charities that are aiding victims.
“I want people around the world to see the country and its people in everyday life,” Tilmantaite explained. “The people in Nepal are really strong, they will overcome the tragedy and will continue living just like they did.”
To date, seven prints have been sold to five people totaling about $440 in donations. She has delivered money to several organizations including the World Food Programme, Global Giving, Spark Children Home in Nepal and Secret Garden Disaster Relief but is looking for other reliable charities to make sure fund reach the right people in a timely manner.
“I want people around the world to see the country and its people in everyday life,” Tilmantaite said. “The people in Nepal are really strong, they will overcome the tragedy and will continue living just like they did.”