April 25th marks the fourth anniversary of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, which caused the deaths of almost 9,000 people and injured around 22,000 more. Significant areas of Nepal were affected, but its epicentre to the east of Gorkha District suffered the most. The death and destruction caused by the quake made it the worst natural disaster to hit Nepal since 1934.
The scope of the disaster and the number of people affected meant that it grabbed headlines in the immediate aftermath, with major aid efforts being poured into the afflicted areas. Whilst this aid was vital to easing the short-term strain in certain places, much of the impact was more systemic, and four years later the long-term effects can still be clearly seen and felt across the country.
The destruction of buildings, communities and livelihoods — particularly in more remote parts of the country, which were already some of the poorest — pushed one million adults and children into extreme poverty. Children were some of the worst affected, with many left orphaned and others feeling the effects of their families losing their homes and/or livelihoods.
This combination of factors resulted in a large number of children being forced to move to the bigger cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara (where Kidasha is based) with a view to earning money to support themselves or their families left behind in the villages. Unfortunately, when left to fend for themselves, many vulnerable children are forced into exploitative, low or unpaid labour, with no access to education. Young girls are particularly at risk, with many becoming victims of sexual abuse and trafficking.
Kidasha’s main focus is to protect children in these situations, helping them move out of exploitative labour, providing shelter and support for victims of abuse, and helping young people access health care, education and other positive development and training opportunities.
Likewise, our two residential rehabilitation shelters give boys and girls who have experienced violence, abuse or exploitation a safe place to stay, complete with specialised care to provide them with all the support and help they need to recover and ideally eb reunited with their families. We also operate five drop-in centres in Pokhara, which host classes and provide practical support particularly for working children for whom full time education is not an option because their situations are such that they have to earn to survive.
For anyone far removed from the effects of the 2015 earthquake, four years later it might seem like old news; an event where the after-effects will have settled and dissipated. As much as we would like this to be the case, on its fourth anniversary the damage caused is still visible not only in the physical state of land and buildings, but in the legacy of deprivation many people sadly endure to this day.
Kidasha will keep working hard to protect those affected and help them to a better life. Your support is vital, and even small donations can have a significant impact on the lives of children who lost almost everything four years ago.