Coronavirus is not leaving Nepal and people are still suffering as a result of previous lockdowns. Now, the Dashain festival has started and people started gathering in huge groups with no social distancing observed. There are worries that another massive increase in cases will follow shortly after the holidays. As almost no tests are being done, it is very difficult to know the real number of infections or even COVID related deaths.
We have been supporting those that have been affected by the virus or by the subsequent lockdowns, and are also on a standby to provide any emergency support when/if needed. We have also been supporting the children that were not able to attend school due to COVID and closed schools. The exams are taking place so we have been providing tutors where we can and enabling the children to pass their exams and ensuring they do not lose another year.
Luckily, we have been able to get all our staff members vaccinated but we still have to be very careful. All staff who come back from their annual leave, or our new volunteers, are required to self isolate before they start work to ensure the safety of everyone else around them.
We are also trying to plan a number of sustainable small scale projects aimed at assisting those communities (particularly those from the lowest castes) that have been mostly affected by the current situation. We are hoping to be able to update you with some of those ideas within our next report!
And a massive, massive thank you again for all the support - it means so much!
With the Indian variant widely spread in Nepal now, majority of communities over there are experiencing hardship, particularly those from more marginalised groups that do not have access to any support. 50% of tests are positive and there are no free hospital beds, no ventilators or oxygen available. The government has now introduced a number of regional lockdowns, most of them very strict. People can't leave their houses and those who live in villages are not even able to get to the hospitals as no transport is allowed.
Some of our colleagues and staff have already lost a number of family members and friends due to the virus. We read stories of people dying on the streets, of many villages in south Nepal where over 90% of households have one or more people with severe corona symptoms - but due to lack of tests and inability to travel to any testing sites or hospitals, nobody can be sure of the real number of infections.
Most of the communities that we work with are from the lowest Dalit (untouchable) castes and many do not qualify for any relief from any source mainly due to lack of paperwork/citizenship.
We have now teamed up with another small UK charity, Pipal Tree and a local Nepalese charity, Mithila Wildlife Trust and are together raising money to assist those that are on a verge of starvation and are not able to access any support. Due to our knowledge of local communities we are able to distribute the relief to those who really need it in an efficient and quick way. We have just sent the first £10,000 to Nepal and this is enough to feed over 700 families for 2 weeks. Our aim is to help 4000 families. It is still a small help but we don't want any children to go hungry when their parents are not able to work due to the lockdowns or illness.
We have started our relief delivery now, please have a look at the short video that we have had made in the past few days. We are hoping that our next report will be much more cheerful.
As always - thank you so much for all the support, and please share the campaign info with anyone who you think might be interested in learning more about our work.
Whilst Europe, America and many other places in the world are in the middle of their fight with the coronavirus, Nepal seems to now be moving on.
The government stopped free coronavirus tests, there is no support for medical costs for corona patients and no support for any businesses. This has caused most businesses to open as usual, weddings are going ahead (and these in Nepal mean gatherings of minimum 400 people or so), schools have reopened and majority of people outside of Kathmandu have stopped wearing masks. Sadly, we hear of many more new cases but due to no testing and lack of any support the local communities started to move on and live their lives as usual.
Our work to help the communities is now focused on helping more children - more boys that have been forced to live and work on the streets, and also girls who have been subjected to domestic and sexual abuse as a result of the lockdowns. We have formed some amazing partnerships with other organisations with the same values as us and the new project to help all children needing emergency assistance in Province 2 of Nepal is under way!
We will keep you all informed on the progress of the project and how our assistance makes a difference to the children's lives.
A massive thank you for all your support, none of this would have been possible without it. THANK YOU!
It's tough anywhere in the world now but less developed countries such as Nepal have been hit the hardest and the worst is still to come. New lockdowns and curfews are imposed every week on different regions and that means that many families that we have been supporting are not even able to leave the house to go to work or get food. At least it is possible to get to the hospitals and buy medicines. The hospitals don't have capacity to take on any new cases, many doctors are not working and there is a lack of equipment.
Most of the local government officers have been infected with coronavirus and many of the offices were forced to close. The charity organisations were banned from distributing food or other relief to the people, even those in greatest need, for about a month. The latest curfew has been lifted so we are able to now supply more food and basic necessities to those that need that the most.
Apart from the family support where we bought rice, lentils, vegetables, eggs, oil and soaps, we have also been supporting the children at the local government quarantine facility. The facility has been set up at an old school building where all families have to share the toilets and bathrooms, and people sleep on the floor. There are no soaps or other essential provided. We bought nappies, milk, basic nutritious food and toys for the youngest children and soaps for the whole facility. We have also helped a family that lost the father to corona and then they lost their house and everything they had in the flooding. Now the mum is on her own with 3 children and no support available.
We estimate that the need for our work will be even higher in the coming months due to families losing all their income and no being able to afford to look after their children. There is a huge probability that the children will be forced to work or beg on the streets and will not be sent to school. We are prepared to take on more children at our centre in Birgunj should the need arise.
I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been supporting us so far. None of this would have been possible without your help. Please share the information with your colleagues and friends and feel free to reach out to us if you would like to know more or would like to get involved with us.
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