Things have changed dramatically in Nepal since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on 25 April, and subsequent 7.3-magnitude tremor on 12 May. Like nearly everyone operating in Nepal we at CHANCE have adapted our activities to focus on the immediate needs of families and schools affected by the disaster.
Despite this we are not a disaster relief organisation and it has now become clear we must adjust our medium term priorities for the new challenges facing Nepal. Three weeks on from the initial quake we have developed a way forward for CHANCE to provide constructive support in the aftermath of this devastating event, while remaining true to our core focus on education.
Unsurprisingly, education has suffered significantly from this tragedy. Most schools are currently closed, with the official reopening at the end of the month. However, school buildings have been destroyed and many schools will be without places to teach when they reopen. UNICEF estimates that approximately 1 million children will be left with no school facility. Many children have no safe place to go during the day and are vulnerable to exploitation by criminals, with reports of $570 per child earned by traffickers. Others have been traumatised and are in need of counselling and psychological support. Basic utilities have been affected, and some schools will be without essentials such as energy and drinking water.
On the positive side ordinary Nepalis have been working together to help each other through the hard times, and there has been a surge in volunteering. Many young people have joined in these efforts, and here at CHANCE we can help them to get something tangible back from the hard work they have put in through The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.
Earlier this week CHANCE trustees agreed to make £30,000 from our reserves available to help out in five key areas:
- Safe shelters for teaching
- Psychological counselling and emotional support
- Educational training and teaching support
- Mobilising and rewarding volunteers
- Water, energy and income generation
To be more effective in making progress in these areas we have set up a consortium of five partner organisations:
- CHANCE. As a UK-registered education charity operating in Nepal we will be providing the seed funding and management of the consortium.
- Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN). Implementation partner for many of our projects, CWIN provided relief materials to some of the worst-affected earthquake areas, including child-friendly classroom facilities. They work with the Nepal Paediatric Society to provide psychological care and have mobilised hundreds of youth volunteers to help out with aid.
- Rato Bangala Foundation. One of Nepal’s top private schools has its own teacher training college and a proven record of providing teacher training to less privileged areas of Nepal. They are the local partner to Disaster Psychiatry Organisation and so will bring expertise in this complex area as well
- Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI). HCI operate the National Planning Committee’s national volunteer database, and have developed earthquake-proof shelters which use local materials and can be carried by porter-back to remote areas and assembled on site.
- Nepal Rises. A civil society organisation of technology specialists set up within hours of the earthquake to support the response, Nepal Rises coordinated hundreds of volunteers and relief trucks to locations in affected districts, and now has a focus on medium to long term water and energy solutions.
We will be providing more detail about precisely how we intend to make improvements in the five areas we have identified over the coming weeks. Our resident trustee Tina Stacey Ghale has been invited to join the emergency cluster for education, which is the national planning level for all education work, so CHANCE is in a good position to deliver a well-coordinated programme of activity.
In the meantime please help us to help Nepal by making a donation. We are making £30,000 available immediately. The more you give the more we can increase this figure, and the more young people we can give a better quality of life.