Jul 27, 2021

Growing Awareness on Menstrual Hygiene - Gorongosa

On Friday 28 May, Helpcode team in Gorongosa joined the District Services for Education, Youth and Technology, the District Services for Health and the director of Gorongosa Rural Hospital to celebrate, together with a group of 30 girls aged 12-17 from different primary and secondary schools, International Menstrual Hygiene Day.

This small event has been an opportunity to reflect collectively on the importance of improving information for adolescents on sexual and reproductive health, and of creating conditions in which girls can have regular access to sanitary towels – in a context where they are often forced to use cloth or even to skip school during menstruation, as we discussed in our previous reports. These issues are rarely discussed in the family, which is also why they have aroused great interest among the girls, who have proposed organising regular information meetings in schools.

Helpcode is currently busy planning such training sessions in the context of a project coordinated by UNICEF with funds from the European Union, where teachers and school councils (that includes representatives of the students) will be involved in order to develop awareness activities on menstrual hygiene and how this is linked to girls empowerment as well as to gender equality.

Stay tuned!

Jun 7, 2021

Don't forget girls' health during pandemic.

After several months of relatively low daily cases in Nepal, cases began to increase rapidly in mid-April 2021, rising from 150 cases per day in early April to over 8,000 cases per day since 5 May. Over 44% of COVID-19 tests nationally are coming back positive, suggesting that case numbers are much higher than reported (United Nations).

The recent surge in cases has resulted in an unprecedented need for medical supplies including oxygen, medicines, ventilators, diagnostic kits and vaccines - said an WHO rappresentative in Nepal. While WHO and partners are supporting the Nepal Government’s endeavors in mounting a robust response, fighting the pandemic necessitates international solidarity. I appeal to friends of Nepal from around the world to come forward and help with fulfilling the needs of the hour.”

Millions of people in Nepal are struggling not just with the direct health impact of COVID-19, but also with hunger, malnutrition, devastating economic losses, and other health needs that are being overlooked.

Helpcode Nepal is strictly monitoring the situation in Kathmandu and Chitwan, where the schools are closed and lockdown has been extended since May.

Helpcode staff are facing the devastating broader impact the current COVID-19 surge has on children and young people in Nepal. We do not want them to be cut off from vital support networks, as they are losing parents and caregivers, and witnessing scenes no child should ever see.

It’s particularly alarming to see the number of cases rising in rural areas, where health services are woefully ill-equipped to handle this surge in critically ill patients. Someone from a rural part of the country might have to travel seven or eight hours to get to the nearest hospital -- many of which are understaffed and under resourced -- and with few ambulances available, life-saving treatment is out of reach for many" said Sheila, Education Officer in Chitwan.

Because of Covid-19, other medical treatments have come to a halt, which is especially dangerous for young children and pregnant mothers who desperately need access to healthcare. The longer this crisis goes on, the greater the disruptions to vital health services, putting even more children at risk of illness or even death. The nationwide lockdown, whilst essential to control the virus, threatens to push even more children into poverty as families lose their incomes. One thing is certain; children in Nepal will feel the effects of this crisis for many years to come."

Also Bikesh, Protection Officer report us that "non-COVID patients are reluctant to visit hospitals for fear of getting infected; people of hill, mountain regions not going for tests, opting for self-medication. On the other hand, I learn about a pregnant woman who tested COVID-19 positive and has been abandoned by husband, kicked out by landlord. Neighbors bar her from coming to parents’ home".

In this dangerous situation, we need your help to support the health and hygiene of girls in Nepal and prevent interrupted childhoods in Nepal from being lost for good.

Donate now to HAPPY PERIOD, a concrete way to improve life conditions of vulnerable girls in Nepal

May 19, 2021

10 new bikes to ride to education

Our project will make a difference in the lives of children and their families in a simple way that has proven to be highly effective – providing them with bikes.

In Cambodia a bike is literally a ride to education:

  • Many students – in particular girls - have to travel a long distance to school, which is a big deterrent to attendance. A bicycle allows them to get to school and they can take one and sometimes two of their siblings with them.
  • The students’ families can also use the bikes to get to clinics and to local markets.
  • This initiative supports local families that sell and fix bicycles.

Thanks to your donation, we reach a fifth of the budget. The project has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with schools closed again since February 20 2021 and government residential zonal lockdowns in place in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Kandal and restrictions on public gatherings and regional travel.

Even in the time of Covid-19, cycling is encouraged, according to a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO). As long as you maintain safe social distancing practices, cycling to work or to go to school can help you avoid unnecessary contact with others, helping to limit the spread of the virus, and also help meet daily recommendations for physical activity to keep a good mental health.

To enable progress of the project with the funds raised to date, the Helpcode Project Team has been working closely with School Directors to identify recipient female students of a Bicycle based on the national Poverty ID scale. All 100 girls most in need have now been identified from 40 villages in the provinces of Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kandal and the informal settlements on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

An initial stock of 10 bicycles has been selected from a local supplier for purchase of the Bicycles, Helmets and Bicycle Locks. The Team have also worked with the School Directors and Village Leaders to complete due diligence requirements with documents drafted for signing off by identified recipients on receipt of each Bicycle and outlining commitment to care of the Bicycle for recipients and their families to be signed on Bicycle Handover.

The Ministry of Education have not as yet made any announcement for the planned reopening of all public schools in Cambodia. Cambodia also received a good ranking from UNESCO as one of only 17 countries in the world that have given priority to vaccination against Covid-19 for teachers.
And when the schools will re-open… our girls will have a new bike to ride to education!

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