42,000 children reached
SOS Children’s Villages Nepal has so far been able to reach out to about 42,000 children as well as 3,000 nursing mothers, and senior citizens who were in different relief camps.
At our village in Jorpati, we catered to about 1,000 neighbourhood children. We fed them, supplied them with drinking water, and gave them first aid and medical treatment.
25 child care spaces serving 2,000 children
As a social organisation focusing on serving children and needy families, our basic focus immediately after the earthquake was to establish as many child care spaces as possible so that we could serve many children in the different earthquake-hit areas.
So far we have been able to establish 25 child care spaces. Through these 25 child care spaces, we are serving daily 2,000 children who visit these child care spaces.
Child care allows parents the peace of mind to know where their children are while they get on with their lives. We are also counselling those families who use the child care spaces.
35 orphaned and unaccompanied children taken into SOS Villages
So far, SOS Children’s Villages have taken in 35 unaccompanied and orphaned children.
SOS is also in the process of setting up a kinship care program which help extended families keep children who have lost their parents.
Right now, SOS are now helping those families to restart their day-to-day lives. We have selected about 1,000 families and will be enrolling them in our Family Strengthening Program and will be helping them throughout the coming years.
Rebuilding of houses and schools
Another focus is to rebuild 300 houses for earthquake victim families. These houses will be built in the locations where we set up the child care spaces where we have been working with the community for the last two months.
SOS will also be rebuilding four government schools in Nepal. One school, in Lakhuridanda, has already been selected and negotiations are underway with the Ministry of Education to finalise the agreement to build the school. Selection of the other three schools is currently being explored with the government and the communities where we are working.
The essential services that we have provided have focused on the need of the children, and have included the provision of tents, clothing and beds.
Home in a Box
Many people have lost everything including their house, beds, utensils, food stocks and clothes. So we developed a concept where we would distribute a ‘home in a box’ to these families containing some clothing, bedding, blankets, food, and utensils, so that they can be protected and they can start their livelihood once again. It contains all the utility things a family needs.
The challenges ahead
The monsoon season has already started and a difficult time has begun. It is really very difficult to say how many people are living without proper shelter, as eight million people are homeless because of the earthquake.
It is clear that lots of people are still living in tarpaulin tents and if we have heavy rains during the monsoon season the tarpaulin is not going to help them at all.
At the moment, the majority of the people need a safe place to live in, whether a temporary or a permanent shelter. Some of the people have built their own shelter and some other organisations have built temporary shelter for them but still during this monsoon season, because of the heavy rain, there may be a lot of landslides in the places where they are living.
When it’s raining all the time and there are problems with sanitation and health, people are scared that an epidemic might start. There is the threat of communicable diseases like cholera and typhoid.
We have the feeling that if a majority of people can survive this monsoon, we can start the reconstruction and rebuilding after the monsoon season is over.
In the meantime, because of the loss of their properties, the loss of livelihoods and jobs, they need to restart their lives. Many of them need support with restarting their livelihoods. On top of that, a lot of the families, since they have lost everything, need some support with the education and upbringing of their children as well.
There are a lot of challenges ahead but SOS Children’s Villages is in Nepal helping children and families. We have been there for 40 years, and we are staying to help people as they transition into returning to their everyday lives.