ECCA Supports Educational Materials For Students in Pyutar

The earthquake left Nepalese people in innumerable losses. With an absolute threat to vulnerable psychological status, noone was as much traumatized as children were.  They lost their houses and strived for the safest shelter that their parents could provide. With their books, bags and uniforms buried along with the houses, attending schools is still a huge challenge for children especially of rural areas where economy status of people is weak.

Thus with a motive of supporting and encouraging them to attend schools, ECCA has been providing educational materials to both students and schools with the support of various organizations and individuals. From construction of Temporary Learning Centers to WASH, Life Skills and Rehabilitation Camps sessions, efforts were made for immediate benefit of victimized students.  Immediate needs of bags, copies, pencils and other educational materials such as whiteboards, markers have been fulfilled in various earthquake affected districts.

One of the latest educational support was made in December 15,2015 students of Shree Dhandada Primary School in Dhandada Besi, Pyutar-5 where students received bags, copies and pencils. All 25 students received a set of bag, 6 copies and 2 pencils. This will accelerate their mode of learning along with providing some ease to their difficulty in regular school attendance. This is one story but there is still need of attention in remote areas in terms of educational and infrastructural support, ECCA leaves no hesitation in providing needed help.

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A young student receives ‘All In One’ Book’!

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Students of Shree Dhandada Primary School with their teachers after they receive educational materials

Do visit our Global Giving website if you want to be a part of the contributors to help us develop a better school environment for school children!

 

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.

Education And Attitude

Following is a review of a school drama performed by Shree Bag Bharaib Nature Club, Chaughare on November 25, 2015 during school visit by ECCA director Angel Chitrakar along with the treasurer from WMT  Mr. David.

IMG_5158Hari, who lives in Jeri Gaun gets ill out of a sudden. He is not rushed to a hospital but offered the aid of a Jhakri. All the mantras that the Jhakri chants and animal sacrifices he makes to shoo away the evil goes in vain. It is only that his health improves when he gets treated by a medical doctor.  The reason for his sickness doesn’t turn out to be evil souls but unhygienic behaviours chiefly open defecation.

The drama which showcased sensitive issues of community such as hygiene and sanitation was commendable. From health issues to existing beliefs in superstitions, the characters successfully portrayed ignorant personalities of the society and those who try to make a change. By creating a contrast between two villages, essence of subjects such as plantation was also revealed to the public and the conclusion was an inspiring one- to spread awareness and bring actual change in attitude.

IMG_5170.jpgAnyone in the audience would undoubtedly get a feeling that it is important that more of the youths come forward to be the Change makers. If everyone would go hand in hand for making such positive changes in the society, life will get better and development won’t be far.

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-Upama Tamla (Rai), ECCA
[To support ECCA’s mission of providing ‘Safe Water For Healthy Nepal’, donate us through our Global Giving website.]

Solar lamps and panel distribution in Asrang

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On July 28 2015, with financial support raised through Global Giving, ECCA distributed Solar powered lamps (along with Solar panel) in Bidhadheshwari Higher Secondary School of Asrang in Lalitpur district as part of relief activities for the victims of April earthquake. Each of 400 households received two lamp units and one solar panel. Initially being scheduled the day before, bad road conditions (arising due to landslide) on the way to Asrang delayed the Solar Tuki distribution by one day. Nevertheless, school students and parents came again the next day to receive Solar Tukis for their homes.

ECCA Program Officer handing over solar tuki to a student accompanied by his grandmom

ECCA Program Officer handing over solar tuki to a student accompanied by his grandmom

Group Photo

Group Photo

In Asrang village, Lalitpur, around 97% of the houses got damaged in April’s earthquake and recovery process is taking time. With most of the electrical infrastructures damaged during the earthquake, the residents of Asrang had been facing problems of lighting during night time. Those who had access to kerosene lamps were in no advantage because of probable health hazards.  Educational arena of school children was equally affected. Thus, to improve the living and learning condition of people of Asrang, distribution of solar lamps and panels was prioritized since it has multiple advantages. Solar Tukis provide a stable and environmentally friendly source of lighting to the families in their homes or temporary shelters.

Globalgiving UK representative handing over solar tuki to a student

Globalgiving UK representative handing over solar tuki to a student

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Happy after getting Solar Tuki

“Some children have to walk for 3 hours to get to the school“, says a teacher. The village school Bidhyadhishwari Higher Secondary School, which is located on the top of a hill, was severely damaged during the earthquake and the destroyed classrooms were replaced by temporary learning center (consisting of bamboo-structured huts with space for about 30 children, but cannot provide the same teaching conditions as a solid building). “On top of this challenging surrounding, the students have to work hard to help the family when they return from school in the afternoon” the teacher informs us. That’s why it’s even more important to help the students to improve their living and learning conditions.

“Now we can study anytime we want. Most of the time, we are busy helping our parents with chores. But now, not even darkness can deprive us from studying. From now on, I will study even harder”, said Sandesh Tamang, one of the students.

We would like to thank all our supporters and donors for helping us in post earthquake recovery activities. Without your help and support, we would not have been able to achieve success in helping the earthquake affected people.

-Nina, Prachet, Upama

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

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.

A Day at Chaughare “Distributing Solar Lighting Systems”

Beautiful place in a nice sunny day.

Beautiful place in a nice sunny day.

27th July 2015, was a clear and sunny day when our team left ECCA-office for an approx two-hours-ride to a small village located in Chaughare VDC, Lalitpur. In the fond of our car, there were Solar Lighting Systems to be distributed to EQ affected families in need. Additionally, we carried various piles of note books for the students in severely damaged school in the same area. I feel it was a short trip, but the activities with a long-term impact.

Gathering of community members to receive solar light.

Gathering of community members gathered to receive solar light.

Some families were already waiting for us when we arrive at the partly destroyed school yard (Shree Gyanodaya Lower Secondary School, Chaughare) to distribute the Solar Lighting System. The system distributed consisted of 2 bright bulbs along with the mobile charging facility and radio inbuild in the system. This reliable and environmentally friendly source of electricity for their homes. will keep the family members safe during the dark hours of night time and support the family members connected with communications and information.

As we had limited system to support the community members, Mr. Tej Lama (Chairman of School Management Committee) supported us through identifying the highly needy family members in the community. Families with old aged members, disabled members, nursing mothers, and school going children were highly prioritized in the distribution.

99 Yrs oldest lady in the community.

99 Yrs oldest lady in the community.

Amongst them, there’s a 99-year-old lady with her great-granddaughter. She still remembers her earthquake experience of 1933 and shared about her experience during that time. The great-granddaughter also shares her joy with other children and gathers together with her friends who all love dancing.

Distributing Solar System to different abilities family.

Distributing Solar System to different abilities family.

In the scenery of the partly destroyed school yard, the Solar systems stand like a symbol of hope and shows that earthquake recovery and ecology can go together hand in hand. And apart from providing electricity for the basic needs of families, there will be still enough solar power for playing music – so the girls can go on dancing!

We would like to thank Mr. Kushal Gurung (CEO) of WindPower Nepal and The Mayor Hotel for supporting the solar system for the families of Earthquake Affected families in Nepal.

A Group Snap with the families.

A Group Snap with the families.

By:

Angel C. – Sr. Program Officer, ECCA

Nina N. – ASA Volunteer, Germany

POST EARTHQUAKE RECOVERY SUPPORT @ MIRGE, DOLAKHA

Kalidevi Secondary School damaged by earthquake

Kalidevi Secondary School damaged by earthquake

During the assessment and distribution of relief materials in Dolakha (in May 2015), the ECCA team found heavy damages to school buildings, WASH infrastructure and health threat among children and even among adult and elderly people. Most of school students’ education materials were buried under the debris, due to which they were anxious on how to restart their school life. Therefore, there was an urgent need of recovery and rehabilitation program for the school students.

At first, ECCA conducted a three days TOT training program for the youth volunteers on 17th-19th June 2015 at ECCA premises Kathmandu. The youths were trained on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), Life Skills along with psychological activities specially designed for the current situation so as to help the students recover from the traumatized situation and continue their studies at school.

Stationery materials distribution

Stationery materials distribution

Immediately after the training, 20 youth volunteers (divided into 4 groups) were mobilized at 4 project schools of Mirge, Dolakha (Majh Gaun Lower Secondary School, Mirge 1; Kali Dhunga Higher Secondary School, Mirge 7; Kali Devi Secondary School, Payele; and Lali Gurash Bright Future English School, Laligurash Danda). They stayed there for 5 days (22nd -26th June, 2015) and facilitated different fun, skillful, engaging and relieving activities for all the 664 students of the four schools to support them to get back to their normal school lives again. To conduct the WASH and Life Skill Camp in harmony and to gain the maximum benefit from the camp program, class wise division was done into 4 categories- Class 1-3, 4-5, 6-8 and 9-10.

Teaching proper hand washing technique

Teaching proper hand washing technique

Shyam Lama, member of ‘Majh Gaun Nature Club’ expressed “It was ECCA counselors who first taught us how to make chlorine solution (WATASOL). They provided us with all the required materials and gave us enough training. Now we can prepare WATASOL on our own and protect ourselves from water borne diseases.” Likewise, mother of Bilash Paudel of class 3 from Shree Kali Dhunga Higher Secondary School expressed that she was very happy to see positive impacts on her son. He shared his learning and taught the hand washing method to his family members.

As the devastating earthquake has destroyed the water sources, the chances of contracting water borne diseases have increased. To prevent an outbreak, the students were taught hand washing activity and the production and use of WATASOL for water purification.

“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. Again, I am very grateful to ECCA team and the volunteers for all the support and the help.”- Words shared by Puskar Dahal, Teacher of Kali Dhunga Higher Secondary School, Mirge 7.

Psychological activities were also included in the camp sessions to help the students recover from the trauma they were facing due to the earthquake. Many students were mentally disturbed and not in a state to attend schools continuously. So as to help the students, different activities like- Sharing experience, Dominant and non dominant hand exercise, yesterday today tomorrow, Anger Management, Draw your safe space, Balloon blast and coping skill via ball games were performed. These activities helped the students to minimize their distress.

Parents observing work of their children

Parents observing work of their children

ECCA supported a day meal in all the project schools for the students and the staff members during the training period. Due to shortage of food materials, students were not attending the schools earlier. Day meal helped the students to come to the school continuously.

Ramji Ghimire, Kali Devi Lower Secondary School shared “I express my gratitude to ECCA for supporting stationery materials (copy, dot pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners) for all the students and game materials (carom board, chess board, ludo, skipping, football, volleyball and flying disk), first aid kit, jerry cans, white boards and markers for school. ECCA also supported the construction of water tank in the school as devastating earthquake of 12th May, 2015 severely damaged water tanks of our school.”

By: Shailena Sthapit (ECCA Staff)

Dolakha Diary – An Experience organizing camp in School

Dolkha Dairy

Dolkha Dairy

“Namaste miss. Namaste sir. Welcome to our school.” When there are blissful tiny voices greeting you along with their tiny hands heavy with garlands that clearly define affection, plus those warm smiles loaded with innocence, you’re bound to forget all your fatigue and consider yourself blessed to be among those people with big hearts. Likewise, the moment we got an affectionate welcome at Kalidevi Lower secondary School of Mirge, Dolakha on June we felt that the challenges we faced on our way, which included of a massive rainfall plus a life-threatening landslide were all worth it.

But the next moment when we let our eyes wander, we saw true horrors of earthquake. The earthquake had left them nothing but a tiny building. All other school infrastructures were in rubbles. Although some temporary structures had been set up for running the classes, most of the students had no materials for study. Many students had their uniform and books buried during the earthquake. Desks and benches were made locally yet they were still not enough for students. We further discovered that the health status of all the children was in a risky situation. All the students and even teachers used tap water from the toilet directly for drinking. Moreover, the nature club of the school was already functionless long ago so there was no chlorine production and no use of chlorine as well. Hence, our foremost objective lied in reactivating the nature club and making all students informative regarding sanitation and healthy habits besides making efforts to take them out of the earthquake trauma.

Fun with Mask

Fun with Mask

We thus started our sessions as scheduled, with numerous games and activities. The children were surprisingly shy and there were few who volunteered for anything we asked. As we started our drawing and coloring sessions in pre-primary classrooms, they were happy beyond anything. Even the teachers told us that they themselves rarely taught children that way. On the other hand, older students seemed fascinated by things that could be learned through art and games.

Students enjoying with mask and characters.

Students enjoying with mask and characters.

On our second morning, we witnessed yet another suffering of the school. Previous night’s rainfall had pooled the school ground and half of the temporary classrooms were flooded with water. Students were busy ploughing around the ground for a water outlet and we got worried about our sessions. Despite everything, we were determined to place the students at ease and try sharing our earthquake experiences together so that they could free themselves from the subconscious trauma.

“During the earthquake of April 25, 2015 I was in maize field working with my mom. When the quake hit us, my mom started screaming and all houses around us started collapsing. That night all of us villagers slept in the maize field of our neighbors and ate whatever we had. Our home got destroyed and we’re now living in temporary shelter. I don’t think it’s ever going to be same again…” As Pabitra spoke these words, the whole class was silent. One by one, every student began to speak up and involuntarily there established a bond among us that reminded us of our common misery and then the strength that we could find among ourselves to overcome it.

On our third and last day, we reformed a nature club in the school. After teaching and demonstrating them things about WATASOL, its method of production and usage, they grew confident about producing and distributing it in the village for safe drinking water.

Students displaying about need of safe drinking water and chlorination as an option.

Students displaying about need of safe drinking water and chlorination as an option.

Meanwhile students from lower section enjoyed learning proper hand washing techniques and other creative activities.

On the second half of the day, the school held a short farewell programme during which we distributed copies and other stationery materials to the students and eventually handed over whiteboards, markers, game materials and a first-aid kit to the school. An exhibition was held at the same time which exhibited our students’ works. Parents observed and thanked us for helping their children. And when the teachers enthusiastically said that they were motivated by our work, we couldn’t help smiling. We were humbled moreby warm farewell given by the children. The moment was indeed very overwhelming because when those blissful tiny voices bade us farewell along with their tiny hands and hugs that clearly defined affection,we forgot the world for a moment and considered ourselves blessed to be among all those people with big hearts.
Thank you ECCA!

Students thanking our team after training program.

Students thanking our team after training program.

With students before departure.

With students before departure.

[The experiences are based on a week long Life Skill Camp mission held at Kali Devi Lower Secondary School, Paile Mirge, Dolkha by Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness from June 23 to June 25, 2015]

by – Upama Tamla