As you will have seen from the headlines over recent months, Covid-19 continues to devastate Nepal. Surging case numbers, a shortage of vaccines, and an economy crippled by the impact of non-existent tourism, regional lockdowns, and a drying up of remittances as many migrant workers, particularly those working in India, have been forced to return home. The impact is huge and ongoing.
Against this backdrop, our team in Nepal has responded tirelessly to each new chapter of this evolving challenge.
Our response has involved both emergency relief and developing creative solutions to ensure continued delivery of our long-term goals for children and young people growing up in poverty in city slums.
Emergency relief during this latest wave of Covid has taken several forms, including distributing emergency food, protection and hygiene products, helping the poorest children and families to access healthcare, and other government support and providing assistance around housing for those in precarious living situations.
Unlike in rural areas, where subsistence farming is possible, for families living in city slums, a total loss of income during the pandemic has meant that affording food, fuel and water has proved even more difficult, and many have found themselves on a knife edge. Our food packages have been a lifeline to thousands so far.
At the same time, we’re doing everything we can to ensure some level of learning can continue whilst school remain closed, including facilitating outdoor classes in community bubbles and training peer mentors to support educational initiatives within their communities. With evidence of increases in domestic violence, child marriage and family breakdown, we are also working hard in collaboration with local authorities to protect the most vulnerable from abuse and exploitation.
Our team is working day and night and continually adapting our approach to comply with current restrictions, to ensure we are able to maintain essential support for every child that needs it, including 24/7 shelter for street-connected children, who being outside of family care are at even greater risk during the pandemic.
It’s been 16 months of dealing with a shifting landscape, which at times has been intensely scary for all those in Nepal. However, our work on the ground has kept children safe and enabled many families to keep their heads above water. It has also proved how vital our support is and demonstrated the strength and commitment of our team.
Whilst we anticipate many more months of challenges ahead, our commitment to giving hope to the poorest children and young people in Nepal remains unchanged.