Friday: Benefit concert in Menlo Park for displaced families in Nepal


It's been about a year since the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal struck, killing over 8,000 people, injuring more than 21,000, and leaving about 3.5 million people homeless.

A concert to raise funds to bring battery-powered lighting and phone-charging systems to tent encampments in Nepal will be held on Friday, April 22, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Cafe Zoe, located at 1929 Menalto Ave. in Menlo Park.

Hosted by Menlo Park-based nonprofit VillageTech Solutions, the concert will be given by Adam and Kristen Brosamer and will include acoustic covers of folk, rock and Celtic music, according to Ms. Brosamer.

She and her husband, Adam, live in Menlo Park and have three children. They usually perform for friends and family, but do perform occasional coffeehouse gigs, and have performed in the past at Cafe Zoe. They will be accompanied by a friend on the box drum, she said.

According to David Sowerwine, who founded VillageTech Solutions with Haydi, his wife, there are many tent encampments in Nepal belonging to groups of families who were displaced in the April 2015 earthquake there.

In some cases, eight or nine people are living in a single tent, Mr. Sowerwine said.

The nonprofit has already installed a lighting system for each of 145 families in a tent encampment.

Mr. Sowerwine said there are only enough parts to make 240 more systems. To make all of those, VillageTech Solutions needs to raise $19,000, he said.

The nonprofit began in 1996 as Ecosystems Nepal, an initiative to improve energy and transport systems in rural Nepal. David and Haydi Sowerwine lived in Nepal from 1991 to 2005 but now live in Menlo Park.

Over the years, Mr. Sowerwine said, the nonprofit has developed a number of projects. WireBridge is a human-powered river-crossing system designed to help people cross river gorges in Nepal.

The nonprofit has also been involved with Looma, an educational technology that contains in one box a projector, computer, and audio system, plus a 32-gigabyte flash memory card, that can run off a motorcycle battery. Another technology is called SafaPani, a filtration system that removes arsenic from drinking water.

Go to the VillageTech Solutions website for more information.

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