Photo Copyright The Global Fund for Children, 2015
On April 25, 2015, a massive earthquake struck Nepal, killing nearly 8,000 people. Aftershocks continued for weeks, resulting in landslides, collapsed roads and bridges, and extensive damage to villages that even before the earthquake had little access to supplies and medical care. Deliveries of food and drinking water to remote areas cut off by earthquake damage remain difficult, and prices in Kathmandu have skyrocketed. As the monsoon season approaches, there are concerns about sanitation and possible contagious disease outbreaks.
Within days of the initial earthquake, The Global Fund for Children’s five grassroots partners in Nepal began organizing and delivering supplies to disaster-affected children. As trusted community resources, these organizations are uniquely positioned to identify and fulfill critical needs. GFC’s donors quickly rallied their support for these efforts, and GFC mobilized donor funds to bring emergency relief and ongoing support to vulnerable Nepalese children and their families.
Our grassroots partners serve children who were already vulnerable before the earthquakes, including orphaned and abandoned children, survivors of sex trafficking, and children living in prison with their parents. The earthquakes have exacerbated their fragile circumstances as communities across the country struggle to find food and shelter. Interruptions to education and healthcare are also contributing to the children’s increasing vulnerability.
For example, GFC grassroots partner Partnership for Sustainable Development Nepal (PSD) works with orphaned children who live in government-run shelters and receive only the most basic essentials for a healthy life. These children are now even more vulnerable to health problems, food insecurity, and physical danger. PSD is supplying the shelters with food, tarps, blankets, and other necessities while they work toward reconstructing their facilities.
PSD has also run several health camps to provide free healthcare and medications to people who were injured or affected by the earthquakes. To help staff the health camps, PSD hired medical teams of doctors, nurses, and psychologists. Badly needed supplies like tarps, blankets, diapers, soap, and food are also distributed through the camps.
In addition, PSD has organized child-friendly programs at a number of schools sites in the Kathmandu area. Teachers engage children in games, storytelling, singing, dancing, and other activities, with the goal of helping the children to return to a normal routine and giving them a break from the chaos and destruction that surrounds them.
To encourage more children to come to the programs, PSD also provides free, healthy lunches. Counseling services are available for both the students and their parents to help them process and recover from the trauma they have experienced in the last two months.
One of the most exciting developments in the weeks since the earthquake has been the collaboration between a GFC grassroots partner based in India—Sahyog Care for You—and our Nepal partners. Sahyog gathered relief supplies (blankets, tarps, food, and medicine) in Delhi and then personally delivered them to Nepal to distribute via PSD and another one of our partners, Centre for Awareness Protection (CAP) Nepal.
Sahyog also worked with CAP Nepal to organize two health camps, where earthquake survivors received free medicines and psychological counseling.
Another GFC grassroots partner, Prisoners Assistance Nepal (PA Nepal), has helped hundreds of children and families affected by the earthquakes. PA Nepal works with a very vulnerable population: children whose parents are in prison. Some of these children live with their parents in prison, while others live together at PA Nepal’s shelter homes. Pictured here are children who are currently living outside beneath a tent, due to damage to their shelter home in the village of Sankhu.
An emergency grant from The Global Fund for Children is helping to provide all of PA Nepal’s beneficiaries with food and drinking water. This entails stocking up on rice, lentils, cooking oil, and other essential items. The organization is also using the funds to purchase two large water tanks and a groundwater filter for two of its shelter homes.
Our grassroots partners are amazingly innovative and adaptive, even in the most dire circumstances, and PA Nepal is no exception. The organization is currently exploring sustainable, stable transitional housing constructed from natural materials, primarily bamboo and mud bricks, to quickly offer shelter to the growing number of children under its care.
A GFC emergency grant is also supporting Gentle Heart Foundation, a grassroots partner that provides education programs and psychosocial support to girls from indigenous and minority communities in Kathmandu. This grant is being used to provide mosquito nets, food, and latrines for families whose homes have been damaged.
For many of our partners’ beneficiaries, schooling has permanently ended, either because the school buildings have been destroyed or because the children now have to take on new roles as household heads or wage earners. With your help, our partners will continue to provide education, psychosocial support, family tracing, and other vital services to children in need—and will be helping to rebuild their communities for years to come.
Photo Copyright Sahyog Care for You, May 2015