New Zealand renders overwhelming support to Nepalese sisters who lost parents, brother to house fire

Kafle family
The three Kafle sisters with their grandparents. Photo Courtesy: Radio New Zealand / Rachel Graham

The three Nepalese sisters who lost their parents to a blaze that engulfed their home in New Zealand have received unprecedented support from their local community.

Mamata Kafle (11), Manisha Kafle (17) and Tulsa Kafle (24) narrowly escaped the devastating fire that blazed through their five-bedroom home above the restaurant the hard-working Kafle couple proudly owned. The business was located on Queen Street in the South Canterbury town of Waimate.

Emergency workers, who were reportedly at the scene within four and half minutes after the fire was reported, could not save their parents (Tej and Tika Kafle) and 8-year-old brother Prem Kafle. The Kafles who had become part and parcel of the local community through their affable qualities had been running the restaurant for nearly one and half years.

On Friday, various New Zealand media outlets indicated community members and businesses alike have come forward with open arms to help the bereaved girls deal with their unthinkable, tragic loss.

When Waimate District mayor Craig Rowley was contacted by a philanthropist about what the three surviving sisters needed in these difficult times, his ready response was ‘everything’ as all they had were the ‘smokey clothes they walked out in’.

As a result, businesses in Ashburton pitched in to help. “Bed’s R Us donated three beds; The Warehouse donated entire bedding sets including pillows, sheets, duvets, duvet covers; Harvey Norman donated three computers; Noel Leeming gave a smart phone; Farmers donated clothing and the Yard Barn donated gear for knitting and cross stitch,” media outlet Stuff reported yesterday

Over $50,000 had also been deposited by Friday into a fund set up by the Waimate mayor to support the three orphaned sisters.

The collection includes a campaign on that alone has collected over $11,000 by Saturday morning.

Messages left on Givealittle page are both emotional and touching. “NZ & Nepal have a very close connection and I have very fond memories of my trekking there and the wonderful Nepalese people. I hope in time you all heal and have a wonderful life,” said an anonymous guest donor who made an undisclosed amount of contribution today.

Rachel wrote, “Thinking of you all thru this tragic times. Look after each other and keep the special memories of your mum dad and brother” (sic) while Tina Stevenson urged the girls to be strong, “Heartfelt sympathies to you brave girls. Stay strong.”

The school where one of the girls is studying has promised to help in any way it can, a media report said. Waimate High School students raised more than $1500 yesterday through a mufti day. Waimate Main School on the other hand has set up a condolence book in its library.

NRNA ICC spokeperson Mana KC

The spokesperson for the International Cooperation Council (ICC) of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), Mana KC, said the central leadership of the global organisation has been in contact with its New Zealand chapter. “The entire non-resident Nepali community has been left heart-broken by this tragedy. Our president Shesh Ghale had been travelling and so we could not act yesterday but we are now holding internal discussions on how best to help the three sisters,” Mr KC told

He further added that the NRNA ICC will issue a press statement later today in this regard.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the mayoral fund to assist the Kafle sisters can do so per below details:

Everest Mayoral Support Fund
01-0893-0081636-00, ANZ, 110 Queen St, Waimate.

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