The experience of a Nature Club President

The earthquake in April left a deep rooted terror in the Nepalese minds. In the days that followed the earthquake, the fear was palpable. But amidst the fear and destruction, Ashok Maharjan, a student from Zing Secondary School, Khokana, Lalitpur rose to take action. Witnessing his community crumbling down and having to live out in the open with no shelter was a stark contrast to his normal life. For a Grade 10 student, the reality of being helpless weighed down his mind more than the terror.

The earthquake stripped the community of its basic essentials like water and electricity. At that time, people had no choice but to drink water directly from the source. This posed a serious health risk and increased the chances of an epidemic.

Keeping the threat of an epidemic in mind, Ashok bravely decided to use the skills he learned in his school’s Nature Club and produced Chlorine Solution, WATASOL, despite the ceaseless aftershocks and his family’s worry. As the Nature Club’s President, he called his friends Dipesh Dongol and Sajjan Maharjan and together with the WATA device, set out to find a place with electricity. The locals donated the salt needed for production of WATASOL.  After half an hour of wandering, he reached Bhaisepati, the neighboring town where there was electricity and started producing WATASOL.

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Ashok Maharjan from Zing Secondary School, Khokana, Lalitpur

“Electricity and transportation was the biggest hurdle”, Ashok states. “The people were very supportive and were ready to help us. As part of our Nature Club activities, we had begun to produce WATASOL and distribute it in our community even before the earthquake. As a result, the locals were familiar with WATASOL and accepted it without complains or suspicion.”

He continues to guide and advise other students in his school as well as those who live in the vicinity.

Ashok Maharjan is a prime example of a motivated youth who leads his peers. ECCA is proud to be able to support Ashok in his efforts and hopes to empower and motivate others youths as well.

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Witnessing wonders of solar


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“I weave baskets for livelihood. Solar lights have been helping me to make baskets at nights since four months. This is a huge accomplishment for me and my family.”
Man Bahadur Ghunga, Chaughare

On July 27, 2015 solar lighting systems were distributed in Chaughare VDC of lalitpur district. ECCA, along with two supporting partners Wind Power Nepal Pvt. Ltd. and The Mayor Hotel, had distributed the solar packages where each one comprised of two solar bulbs, one solar panel and a radio system. They were distributed to 16 highly needy households especially with old and disabled people where they give maximum benefit.

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After 4 months on 25th October,2015 we visited five houses in Chaughare and two in Dalchowki to see if the light is really helpful to the beneficiaries or not. One of the houses we visited was of 69 years old Man Bahadur Ghunga in Chaughare. With three children and seven members in his family, weaving baskets is his only occupation to support his family. His house was severely damaged by the April earthquake. Since then he along with his family have been living in temporary shelter made of zinc sheet. Initially there was no electricity and they had to struggle at all times. The solar lighting system distributed by ECCA was a solution for their problems. When asked about how much relief it has provided to them, Ghunga happily answered saying how much of a help it has been for them. He said,”The solar lights help us when there is load shedding. The bulbs give very good light and they are durable. We don’t have the better option than this. It has been one of the essential things to use in our daily life. The best thing is don’t have to wait for the electricity to charge it.” He sincerely thanked ECCA and all the organisations that provided his family such reliable technology.

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Manisha Magar, a recipient of solar lighting system in Dalchowki.

Not only him but every household we visited was very grateful towards us. Regardless of whether they use it in the stable, for housework or for weaving baskets, the solar lights have proved to be a boon for all. Most important thing is that children use it for studying. “I wish for the prosperity of ECCA and I hope it supports us with our needs in the future as well” said Ghunga while giving us farewell. His words made us feel that it was definitely worth to help needy people as him with solar lights during critical time of their lives.

-Denis Janker, Mukesh Karn, Upama Tamla

 © copyright of photos to Denis Janker

Distributing educational kits in Sindhupalchowk – an experience from the field

On September 9, 2015 a group of volunteers left ECCA office towards Barabisee, Sindupalchwok, for a one day trip. One of the vehicles was loaded with around 30 piles of copies, solar tukis, six boxes of stationery and sports materials that were to be distributed to the six schools of that area. After a 100km ride through magnificent natural beauty, we finally reached to Barabisee. On the way, we had to cross the remainings of a big landslide that burried a whole village one year ago.

on the road to Sindhupalchowk

unloading notebooks for distribution to schools

A group of teachers of the benefiting schools came to welcome us and to take the materials that were donated by HANDS through ECCA to their schools. Among the six schools Bhatte Primary School received solar tukis for students and staffs for being able to complete the construction of their TLC. We distributed the materials to all the schools and afterwards visited a very special school: Sindhu Bahira Lower Secondary School, dedicated to differently abled persons, especifically deaf. There are 46 students from 13 different districts of Nepal who all stay in the school’s hostel facilites. These 46 students don’t want to add ‘DIS’ to their abilities. “They have a disability, yes that’s true, but all that this really means is they may have to take a slightly different path than you and rest of us. No one is equally able; in their case they are differently abled.” says Maina Karki, principle of the school.

unloading solar lamps for distribution to schools

Maina Karki who has been running the school for five years now, says there are seven teaching staffs in the school, among which four are differently abled and three have taken the training to teach these students. But visiting a deaf school doesn’t mean visiting a silent place: Some students know actually how to speak and anyway there’s is chatting in sign language going on all around. When I asked the principle how that comes she introduced me to other three teachers who could speak but not hear. They lost their hearing ability as they grew up.

TLC in use

Like on every other place where children are around, they were very curious to meet us and find out what we were doing at their place like when reading the sign for the TLC we had brought with us. Somewhere in their eyes they were saying no to the disability, they were demanding the society to see them all equally. In that air I felt the vibes, I felt a determination and I read in those eyes: We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as handicapped, but as an interacting human being

classroom destroyed by the earthquake

I don’t know if we could do anything but they did they gave us so much energy, they taught us life isn’t easy, it’s you who makes it easier or hard. After visiting the new TLC, constructed with ECCA’s support, Maina mam lead us to the old school through rice fields and a waterfall. The former school building is located on the bank of Bhote Koshi, but now ruined and labeled unsafe by the government after the earthquake. The school was in a beautiful location and a merciful condition. While we were observing the ruined school and hostel, Maina mam told us how happy she is that none of the students got injured in the earthquakes. We sat down for a while, took pictures of the ruined school building and went back crossing the suspension bridge nearby. We bid our bye to Maina mam and left for Kathmandu. Sitting in the car and looking out of the window I was just thinking about that school more about the students. They helped me realized that they weren’t deaf it was us who were deaf to hear them; they have always spoken their silent words.

Written by Roshan Khadka

No disability or dictionary out there is capable of clearly defining who we are as a person. It’s only when we step out of that labeled box, that our abilities begin to be fully recognized, giving us a better definition of who we truly are as individuals – Robert M. Hensel

teachers and ECCA volunteers

381 water filters for Kaleshwor!

Kaleshwor VDC in Southern Lalitpur is heavily affected by the earthquakes of April and May as well as by the subsequent after-shocks. Houses are destroyed and people still live outside in tents and temporary shelters without any proper water purification techniques. Many inhabitants of the area are suffering from problems related to poor water quality. There’s a lack of filtration systems, desinfection and proper maintenance of existing water purification facilities.

awaring student on use of WATASOL

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA), along with various national and international organizations, started relief work for the earthquake survivors. Supported by Grand Circle Foundation, 381 set of water filter (purify the water from bacteria, parasites and turbidity, remove bacteria 99.995%, turbidity 99% protozoa 99%) were distributed to the students and villagers of Shree Bagh Bhairab Higher Secondary School-7, Kaleshwor on 28th August 2015. The distributed filter systems can clean up to 10 lt at once. This means children and villagers don’t have to fear different water borne disease every day anymore.

students with water filters

Filter distribution done by ECCA brought smiles on children and villagers’ faces. “Many of us had never used filter before. We were unaware about the problem of unsafe drinking water in our community. Thank you ECCA and team for providing us with filters”, said Subash, president of Bhag Bhairab Nature Club of Shree Bhag Bhairab School. Subash is now actively involved in the local Nature Club for improving the school environment regarding better water, sanitation and hygiene. He also asked ECCA to provide Chlorination training. “I feel safe with ECCA”, added Subash.

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Written by Rabindra & Sadiksha

Once again: WASH & Life Skill Program!

On 27th August 2015, our team consisting of 5 ECCA volunteers headed to Shree Saraswoti Lower Secondary School at Lele VDC, Shikharpa, for a two-days WASH and Life Skill Program as part of ECCA’s Children Rehabilitation Campaign. The aim of the training was first to educate students on the need to use safe drinking water and various water disinfection methods in order to prevent the occurrence of water borne diseases. Second, the Life Skill training sessions aimed to encourage and facilitate students who cope with traumatizing experiences after the earthquake to attend school.

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On the first day of our program, our ECCA team gathered all the materials required for our sessions and headed to Shree Saraawoti School at Lele VDC, Shikharpa. During the journey we were both exited as well as nervous. On reaching the school, we had a small meeting with the principal regarding our training schedule. We had to make some adjustments on our schedule with respect to the school’s schedule. Our sessions for the first day included games, creative activities, psychological activities and WASH activities. As the day went by we found the teachers and the students really co-operative and easy to work with, so first nervousness went away soon.

On the second and final day of our program, being already familiar with the school environment, the students and the teachers, we continued the program. After completing our sessions we held a small exhibition for the parents displaying the works of their child during the three day program. We interviewed some parents and they were really happy to see their children enjoying creative activities. We also handed different school materials provided by ECCA over to the school vice principal.

During our program we got to learn a lot from the teachers and the students. We were happy to see the students enjoying our sessions. Not only the students but also our team had fun conducting the sessions.

Written by Sanjogta Thapa Magar

Learning won’t cease

Earthquake affected school buildings

Earthquake affected school buildings

Peepaldada VDC of Sindhupalhwok couldn’t gleam more than it did on June 30, 2015 when the construction of nine Temporary Learning Shelters (TLC) in four schools namely Shree Siddhi Kamala Secondary School, Sita Primary School, Bageshwori Lower Secondary School and Dakshinkali Lower Secondary School was completed, promising undulating education for children. Faces lit with joy as all the children were provided with educational, recreational and Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits as sources of motivation and effective schooling.

Inspecting the condition of schools

Inspecting the condition of schools

When 7.8 ritcher earthquake hit Nepal back in April, most of the physical infrastructures of Sindhupalchowk turned to complete ruins. School buildings were no exception. Even though time flew by and people recovered from such a traumatic event, they were in no place  to send their children to school as there was no saying in how much time would be required to reestablish school buildings and proper learning environment. Realizing this, Environment Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) and Hands International with the financial support of Medico International (MI) came forward with government authenticated concept of TLC along with the provision of educational, recreational and ECD kits for young children. TLC requires lesser time and fewer materials (bamboo, tarpaulin, Corrugated Galvanised Iron sheet etc.)  for construction and are very  suitable for learning until stable buildings are rebuilt.

Temporary Learning Centers in Construction

Temporary Learning Centers in Construction

Sharing smiles together in newly built T.L.C

Sharing smiles together in newly built T.L.C

Now six more schools of Ramche VDC in Sinchupalchowk namely Bhatte Primary School, Himchuli  Primary School, Janajagriti Primary School, Saraswoti Secondary School, SindhuBahira Lower Secondary School and Suryodaya Primary School are in process of being benefited by this three months long project which started back in June. Despite the lack of transportation, the combined effort of volunteers and school management committee has aided to establishing six TLC’s in above mentioned schools.  70% construction is already completed and by next week, there will be children there, studying the way they used to, taking a leap that they should,  towards their  future to make it bright.

-Upama Tamla

Students rejoicing after being provided with educational, recreational and ECD kits

Students rejoicing after being provided with educational, recreational and ECD kits

Representatives from District Education Office,ECCA, Hands International along with local teachers after completion of TLCs

Representatives from District Education Office,ECCA, Hands International along with local teachers after completion of TLCs

Initiating – KEDRIN

The Terrible Earthquake on the 25th April and the aftershocks that followed claimed over 8,000 souls and devastated the lives of many others in Nepal. Khokana, the town situated at six kilometers South of Kathmandu, turned into rubble and claimed 9 souls and its rich heritage: 812 houses have been completely destroyed and 355 houses are damaged rendering them unfit for human habitation. It was fortunate indeed many people were on their farms when the earthquake hit, resulting in lower fatalities than might have otherwise been expected.

An old women in her destructed house.

An old women in her destructed house.

People have been moved into temporary shelters, living behind their ruined and unsafe houses which are being used to store food and animals. The onset of the monsoon had made living and storing resources even more difficult. The “dunes” of collapse houses have also blocked thoroughfares, making the movement of people through the town and to other villages extremely hazardous and have forced people to live in and around dangerous areas at high risk to their health and lives.

Inspecting the damage of house.

Inspecting the damage of house.

Hence, with an objective to demolish buildings damaged by the earthquake and remove associated rubble and debris to allow regeneration of the community to begin, this project KEDRIN – Khokana Earthquake Debris Removal Initiative has been initiated. This will address the immediate need to demolish unsafe buildings and manage the debris generated in a proper manner. The majority of the damaged houses belong to members of the subsistence farming community who do not have the money to tackle the problem on an individual basis, however, if approached collectively, there would be economies of scale and it would be possible to clear the buildings and debris with fewer resources.

Managing temporary shelter.

Managing temporary shelter.

New plans for rebuilding and community regeneration will only be possible when collapsed structures and debris have been cleared and ample open space has been created. Once this has been achieved, the town can be redesigned and rebuilt, its community heritage and values reestablished, and the community’s way of life restored.

In order to receive financial support (donations) towards the implementation of this project, a donation page is also created in the platform of Global Giving which could be accessed through the links of Global Giving US, and Global Giving UK.

Updates related with the ongoing activities through social media could be received in our Facebook Link dedicated to this project, where as we will also be constantly updating our supporters and donors through our Blog Posts.

A short presentation regarding the project initiation is presented through a short video through this link in our Youtube Channel.

Monsoon & Shelter / TENTS & FILTERS

40 Km away from Kathmandu in eastern side and 13 km away from the district headquarter of Kavre district, people were forced to stay in houses with cracks and along side of debris of their house. Phapar chaur of Kushadevi VDC with approx 60 household were still staying out of their home and were facing different problems due to the earthquake. We managed adequate numbers of tents and filters to distribute in the community on 15th & 16th July 2015.

Setting up tent in school.

Setting up tent in school.

We have tried to compile what we accomplish in a short video presentation. Please enjoy.

If the link doesn’t function properly please follow this link to view the video.

We would like to extend our gratitude towards American Conservation Experience (ACE) for supporting tents to ECCA, enabling us to distribute to the needy families survived after earthquake. A glimpses of other Tent distribution and setup could be viewed in our Tent Distribution Facebook Album (which is continuously updated through adding more pictures). Similarly, Grand Circle Foundation for supporting us for distribution of water filters to the needy communities.

Ensured safe water for the new generation.

Ensured safe water for the new generation.

Thanks to all our counselors and volunteers for their untiring effort towards identifying the families in need through visiting rural areas and helping them to install the tents and filters in their houses.

Teacher’s training in Sindhupalchowk

Sindhupalchowk is the most affected area by April’s earthquake. There’s nearly no house that hasn’t at least some cracks – if it’s still standing at all. Also apart from physical destruction, the earthquake’s implications are still omnipresent: A lot of people lost their loved ones or got physically or psychologically traumatized. In order to contribute to recovery, ECCA provided a two-days teacher’s training on Education in Emergency at Shree Krishna Ratna Ganga Higher Secondary School from 4.-6. August.DSCN0576

As if it had needed a reminder of what the day would be about, the first day of the training started with another aftershock in the early morning. The training schedule featured education on emergency skills related to WASH (water, sanitation, hygene) and behaviour in case of an earthquake. The other main focus was providing the teachers with a variety of games and exercises for children, linked to environmental awareness and earthquake experiences. Crucial for finding ways to deal with what had happened, is the sharing of personal experiences in the moment of disaster. People were in their houses, on the field or on public transport – then, suddenly, their lives changed fundamentally. Apart from physical recovery, ECCA is happy to distribute methods that can contribute to psychological recovery as well.

After only two days of training, Sindhupalchowk has now twelve more teachers who are well educated to fulfill the needs of their pupils and communities in an emergency situation!DSCN0659DSCN0626IMG_0324

The support from Medico International for students and teachers in this crucial time is very appreciable. We would to thank Medico International for the generous support that they provided in the education sector for children in the time of disaster.

Nepal Earthquake Recovery Program Through Schools At Kavrepalanchowk and Lalitpur Districts

Orientation on safe drinking water

Orientation on safe drinking water

“I have seen progressive change in the behavior and regular attendance of the students due to the camp activities. Now, the students are more active, energetic and lively in the schools. The technique is very effective as they are learning through fun and interactive activities. I am very grateful to ECCA team and the volunteers for all the support and the help.” Words shared by Jiya Ram Shrestha, Vice-Principal of Shree Purna Sanjiwani Lamkhanamai Higher Secondary School, Dhulikhel-5, Kavre.

With the support from “Newtown High School, Elmhurst New York”, and “Hope for the Children Foundation, New York”, ECCA conducted 3 days training on Water and Sanitation (WASH) and Life Skill Program along with psychological activities in total 6 schools (five located in Kavrepalanchowk and one in Lalitpur district). These two districts are among the 14 hardest-hit districts of Nepal earthquake. About half of the population of both districts – approximately 150,000 people – has been rendered homeless by this disaster. Due to the damage incurred inside the school and their house, due to many earthquake aftershocks, due to human casualties among their relatives and friends, many students were in a state of shock. The program facilitated different fun, skillful, engaging and relieving activities for altogether 1420 students to support them get used to the normal school life again. Life skill consists of Communication, Leadership, Cooperation, Goal Setting and Confidence.

Copies being distributed

Copies being distributed

The schools were:

  1. Shree Himalaya Higher Secondary School
  2. Shree Jana Jyoti Secondary School
  3. Bal Mandir Lower Secondary School
  4. Shree Harisiddhi Lower Secondary School
  5. Shree Purna Sanjiwani Lankhanamai Higher Secondary School
  6. Bal Vinod Secondary School

Precaution was also needed to be taken, since, after natural disasters; there have been many cases of epidemics, which occur due to unsafe drinking water. Unawareness and drinking unsafe water increases the death toll after the disastrous event. Manoj Khadka, a student of eighth grade from Bal Vinod Secondary School and member of Bal Vinod Nature club, expressed that he has learned about the benefits of chlorine solution WATASOL. Since then, he has been using WATASOL to purify water. Previously, he and his family used to drink water directly from the tap, due to which his family used to suffer from water borne diseases. But, after taking the precautions, now, he and his family are safe.

Students with distributed chlorine solution WATASOL

Students with distributed chlorine solution WATASOL

ECCA distributed copies and chlorine solution WATASOL (to disinfect drinking water) to all the students and supported a day meal in all 6 project schools for all the students and the staff members during the training period. Day meal also motivated the students to come to the school continuously.

Students of different grades studying in the same tent

Students of different grades studying in the same tent

At the end of the camp, Ishwor Sharma, Principal of Shree Harisiddhi Lower Secondary School shared “I express my gratitude to ECCA for supporting stationery materials for all the students and volleyball, first aid kit and jerry cans for our school.”

The whole program was fruitful. The teachers and the whole community were thankful and delighted to have the ECCA team. The team was successful in helping the students / children to revive from the traumatized situation and continue their studies normally.