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May 12, 2020

Battling Covid-19 Pandemic

Dear friends and supporters

We hope you are all keeping well at this difficult time. Restrictions and lock-downs are a necessary part of life at the moment if we are to pull through safely.

Imagine the added difficulties of living in one of the remotest corners of the world with no easy access to frontline support. That is the reality of living in Humla in the far north west of Nepal bordering China/Tibet and officially the poorest district in Nepal. There are no roads to access services further south and air travel is limited and too expensive for the majority of inhabitants. However, these resileant people have survived centuries  of dealing with disasters of all sorts and are doing so now with a remarkable spirit.They have embraced the government restrictions and are doing all they can to ensure their safety. But,they are surrounded by possible hazards and must be forever vigilant.

The government has set up a special fund - District Covid19 Prevention and Control Fund - to help support government clinics in each Rural Municipality (RM) to provide necessary medicines and equipment. The Nepal Trust contributed NRs 110000 and our implementation partner, Self Help Initiative Promotion Centre-Nepal (SHIP), NRs 55000.

SHIP, who manage our 5 clinics, have carried out a full survey and awareness programme providing all necessary medicines, materials and equipment. The exception is the clinic in the remote Limi valley because the high passes were still impassable but this will be rectified very soon as the trails open up. SHIP have also established Help Desks and Quarantine facilities at each site.

The Nepal government have managed very well to keep a cap on the overall infection rate and, as I write, there are only 120 infected people and no deaths in the whole country. This is quite remarkable given the country's location sandwiched between China and India. However, there is sufficient evidence to suggest more cases are arriving in the country as migrant workers return and attempt to get back to their home villages. This is the case as infection rates are increasing in the likes of Nepalgunj and Surkhet south of Humla. More severe travel lock-downs in these areas will have an enormous impact on travel to, and in, Humla.

The Chinese government have closed the border with Humla and stopped all cross boarder activity. This has already had a severe impact on the local economy. Cross border trade is a major economic lifeline for the villages of north Humla. Malnutrition and starvation are already becoming evident and expected to get worse. We are expecting requests for help as the situation gets worse.It is very important that we all remain very vigilant and help these fragile and remote communities to survive the pandemic.

We know that requests for help are everywhere and it is difficult to prioritise from limited resources but if you can help with a donation we would be very grateful. We expect the demands on our resources to increase as the pandemic takes a firmer hold. Please tell your friends and colleagues about the foregotten parts of the world like the 'Hidden Himalayas' and encourage them to support us. 

Namaste.

Mar 16, 2020

Some progress.

Dear Friends and Supporters.

We are still working hard to put funds in place to support our new focus project that will target 140 farmers by supporting and improving farming and agricutural practices and techniques. Funds are nearly there and we hope to get the project for Livelihood Support off the ground any time now. Our earlier trial projects and have demonstrated the big improvements that can be made through proper support and training. The sooner  these small farmers can become more efficient and productive the sooner they and their families will get back to normal lives. The following is a case study gathered by our field staff as an example of what can be achieved through your support.

Chaulagain of Sipapokhare-2 is 60 years old. He has 9 members in his family. Recently, only 3 members of his family stay in the temporary home. Chaulagain started to get involved in agriculture business since 2061 B.S. Before the massive earthquake; Chaulagain’s economic conditions was good and in a progressing phase. Even he made a tank where he collected water for irrigation use. After the earthquake; Chaulagain is using water pipes for irrigation purpose. The earthquake disrupted his livelihood opportunities. Chaulagain’s family relies heavily on farming.

With the intervention undertaken by ICCO/Act Alliance to recover the livelihood opportunities of 12 farmers from Sipapokhare VDCs of Sindhupalchowk . Nepal Trust (NT) being local implementing partner supported Chaulagain with seeds of cauliflower, tomato, long beans and cabbage, plastic tunnel, spray machine, pesticides, sprinkle, pipes, watering jug, scissors to continue his disrupted livelihood.

Chaulagain received assistance to start plastic tunnel farming. After months of hard work in the farm, his hard effort has finally paid off. His farm now flourishes with cauliflower plants. Chaulagain mentions “Agriculture helps in being independent and improve livelihood”. The initiative is expected to recover the disrupted livelihood of Chaulagain in more improved and productive manner. As for the rest of his crops, they are in the process on production.

Meanwhile our work to completely rebuild the Kalika school (see previous reports) has now been completed and handed over to the education authorities. Last month donors from Rotary International (RI) made a visit to see the finished project and were very impressed. The Trust has built a number of new schools in earthquake prone areas and there is little doubt that many more will be required as the full effect of the earthquake becomes apparent. All are rebuilt to government approved earthquake resistance standards.

All at the Nepal Trust want to thank our supporters and donors for all you have done to help this project and bring fresh hope back in to the lives of these hardworking and resourcful mountain people. There is some light at the end of the tunnel but we all need your continued support to finish the job. We hope you will continue with us and please pass on this news to your friends and colleagues and suggest they might wish to add their support.

Namaste

Feb 12, 2020

Empowering Girls and Women.

Banishing old prejudices.
Banishing old prejudices.

Dear Friends and Supporters

The practice of  Chhaupadi is rooted in very ancient beliefs; now illegal but very difficult to eradicate. When you live at the edge of survival these beliefs carry weight and the risk of the consequences is very real. The beliefs include, men will fall ill, crops will stop bearing fruit,cattle will stop producing milk and the Goddess of knowledge Saraswati will be very angry. Women are considered impure at this time and are not allowed to touch household items, men, cattle or crops. Usually banished to chhaupadi huts or similar they are subject to all sorts of physical damage including pneumonia, diarrhea, snakes and other wild animals, asphyxiation,rape and carbon monoxide poisoning. A study by Tribuvan Unversity recommended that girls be empowered with menstrual health knowledge, increase parental support and ensure a supportive school environment. This is the approach the Nepal Trust has adopted to work with our local partners in Baglung district.

Following is a case study provided by a young woman from one of the poorest communities in the district. It describes very accurately how women struggle to be on  equal terms with men and particularly more so if they have physical problems as well. She is a pupil at a school for deaf children which is also supported by the Nepal Trust.

My Menstruation and disability not a Sin, Sanitary pad and incinerator made my better school life.

 I am Manita, 19 years old, inhabitant of Jaljala Rural Municipality ward no 1. I am a student of Grade 12 in Dhaulagiri Deaf Residential School. I am deaf from birth but my father,mother and other family members were hearing persons.

 My father was hearing farmer.  I could not go to technical training due to the thinking of my father/ mother as deaf cannot learn and work for them. My daily life was to do work as serving buffaloes and goats as well cleaning in religious ceremonies. When I used to go to social ceremonies in different areas, they used to give foods in TAPARI (Plate made from leaves) as deaf are not human being. I had no dignity. I had no options except the feeling much humiliated and crying. My family also had misperception that I should bear these all to be free from the sin of the previous birth so that I can go to heaven, get back with all fit in next birth.

When the Dhaulagiri Deaf Residential School, Baglung was started in 2007, I knew that it was a school that enrols the deaf and supports for their development. With a lot of excitement and hopes, I started my study in this school. All the things were nice, but I felt very uneasy when my menstruation started since class 6. The main cause of this was there was no proper management system of sanitary pad in school. My colleague started to tease me due to blood drops in sitting benches during the period that resulted in me being absent for 3-4 days in a month. On the one hand, I had no money to purchase readymade pads. On another hand, there was no pad disposal system in school.

 In 2015, School Management Committee in leading role of Mr. K. B. Ranamagar (Founder of school) constructed the incinerator connected with girl toilets. This overcome the problem of disposal system. Sometimes I used the disposal pads and throw into the incinerator. This was very easier. Many of my friends use this but I can not use disposal pads forever because of poor economic condition of my parents. My situation was almost same as before even there was an incinerator.

When DIRDC Baglung started the tailoring training for deaf students in 2017, I joined the training and I learned to prepare the washable pads and cleaning methods. Nowadays I can prepare the washable pad with sewing machine as well as manually. Now I have 8 pairs of sanitary pads so that I have no problems to attend the class regularly.

 I feel a lot more confident and happier that I don't have to be absent in school due to the lacking of sanitary pads. My father, mother, sister, teachers and other relatives are exciting seeing my progress as same as a hearing person. This is our best pleasure in my life.

 Now, I am starting to ask my community and society that there is no sin associated with menstruation, but the sin is into our mind and in the ways of thinking.

Namaste.

120 schools in Baglung district
120 schools in Baglung district
An exciting new future.
An exciting new future.
Sanitary pad manufacture.
Sanitary pad manufacture.
A Little Doctors health programme.
A Little Doctors health programme.
 
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