BS 2072 (AD 2015)- WHY DON’T WE MAKE IT BETTER?

IMG_0247BS 2072 (AD 2015), a year with lots of painful memories and full of struggle. First they struggled to survive and now they are struggling to live on.The earthquake of Baisakh 12 (April 25) and following aftershocks brought a sudden change in life of Nepalese people. Over 8000 lost their loved ones, their shelter and everything they had. Life didn’t remain the same as it was before Baisakh 12.The whole country was on chaos. People started living in open area rather than living in their houses and many of them had nowhere to go. People were in earthquake trauma and mainly children were its victims.They got help from others and supported each other and struggled to live on.Those who had money built new homes and others who lost everything are still living under the sky building a home like structure unfavorable to rain, cold and windy climate. So far they have struggled to live on but what now?

In this winter, neither they can afford comfortable home nor comfortable clothes nor quality food, struggling everyday just to live another day. We can hear on the news that people are dying day by day due to cold. Is it their fault they can’t afford to survive against the cold? Do only these people have to face such struggle whereas we all Nepalese were victims of the earthquake?

IMG_0903 copy.jpgLet’s help those in need. If you have clothes that you don’t need anymore please bring it to us, we will give it to those in need. Not only the wearable clothes, you can bring torn clothes too. We distribute wearable clothes and recycle the torn ones into sitting mats (cushions) (for students to sit in rural schools, where desks and benches are still not available). Especially for kids of ECD (Early Childhood Development Centers), sitting in the cold and uncomfortable floor is so difficult ……. they will get maximum benefit.

We youths have already come together in many instances, now it’s your turn. Help the needy. Help us in our Win Against Winter Campaign.

– Sujan Rajbahak, ECCA Counselor

If you are willing to help us, you can contact us here.

 

Voices from our youth![This campaign is about helping earthquake affected students in rural Nepal to attend schools…

Posted by Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

 

 

ECCA Camp For Improving School Environment in Eastern Nepal

Out of all the opportunities we get in our lives, there are few that we really rejoice and being an ECCA counselor  has been one of those opportunities for me. When I first participated in ECCA‘s ‘3 days TOT on preparing School Stakeholders and Nature Clubs for Improving School Environment‘ back in November, I was unfamiliar with the terms nature club, school environment and stakeholders. The training boosted up my skills and knowledge to identify stakeholders, control group and concerned group in a community. Along with this, the training generated idea about the vision, mission, current situation, possible challenges and opportunities that could obstruct school environment process.

I was overwhelmed with happiness when I got selected in the program of training school stakeholders for school environment in eastern Nepal. That felt as a chance to learn about rural school environment as well as a chance to implement my knowledge. Thus we set off to three districts (Jhapa, Morang, Dhankuta) of eastern regions of Nepal.

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Laxmi Basnet(right) exploring creativity with a young student

Our first camp was held in Dhulabari, Jhapa. By the support of our team members, I became successful in sharing ideas related with life skill activities, nature club and its management and activities as well as roles of stakeholders in school improvement. Besides, I also learnt about wall magazine and creative use of wastes from my team members. Moreover, the participants of Dhulabari were active, energetic, entertaining and fun loving. They were ever ready to participate in each and every activities conducted by ECCA Camp.

Our next camp was in Letang, Morang. After completing our first camp, we were excited for our second one. I had gained more idea about school environment and the importance of nature clubs. As we started our program in Letang, we found that the participants were shy and introvert. Every participant had different creativity but they didn’t want to show off in front of their friends. Therefore, we trainers decided to take the session in a different way that involved entertainment and knowledge simultaneously. Finally we became successful to make them comfortable to release their creativity. We also learnt about the situation of their school and we shared them about the roles and responsibilities of the participants for the improvement of school environment.

After completing our second camp, we continued to our final camp which was held in Debrebash, Dhankuta. ECCA had conducted its program for the first time in Dhankuta. We shared information on how a nature club is formed and its necessity in school environment improvement. The participants also easily shared their ideas, information in front of all the participants without any hesitation.

Hence, the camps helped rural school stakeholders to understand the importance of their roles and responsibilities for sustainable improvement of school environment. Along with this, the training helped the participants to explore the talent and creativity. Besides, this camp became fruitful for me too. Sometimes I feel awkward to express my creativity in front of others but when I saw the participants performing their creativity in front of all without any hesitation; it encouraged me to demonstrate my hidden talent. Moreover, knowledge is giving and taking process. While sharing my ideas to the participants, I was able to receive some knowledge from the participants too. Thus, I fully enjoyed the program organized by ECCA Camp. And at last I want to say thank you for all the team members for the support, communication and co-ordination without which this program would not be successful.

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-Laxmi Basnet, ECCA volunteer
(In reference with ECCA camp conducted in eastern Nepal with the support of Taksvärkki ry from November 26-December 11, 2015)

“I wish it was only a Nightmare”

“April 25, 2015, I can’t define this day. A day my country was hit by a massive earthquake. Many people lost their homes, their lives, the country was ruined and I was shattered. Yes, I lost my world, I lost my parents”, said Thakur Prasad Dhakal in a very low pitch.lehrer sindhu

Life is not going to be the same for Mr. Dhakal, a school teacher in Saraswati H.S.S, Ramche-06. When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake stroke, Dhakal rushed to his home from Barabise bazzar to find his 8-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter with their mom. Thankfully, they were safe. Then he searched for his mother who was hit by the rubble on her way to home. With the help of neighbors and friends, he managed to recover her. It was a relief for him to see that she had only a minor injury on her leg. But this relief was only for short until she asked for water and passed away by drinking it. Only moments later, his phone rang and he received the message of the death of his father.

No life in immortal and no one can skip it, but grieving your parents in middle age is far more devastating than the quake. Immediately after the loss of your parents, no matter how grown up, matured and wise you are, you will always feel alone. Now, every evening he walks to his demolished shelter to shed tears over his loss. After all, it’s a human’s heart that is wounded and a son’s life left desolate.

“Sindhupalchok is the place where you can find lots of children hat have lost their parents and seen many dead people. That is why I am here, in this teacher’s training on Education in Emergency. Through this training, I wish I could bring back my students’ smile. I can bring some hope in people like me”, said Mr. Dhakal. Every morning when I wake up, I look around and “I wish it was only a Nightmare”, he adds.

This story was collected by Sadiksha Chaudary, ECCA-Volunteer, during the teacher’s training on Education in Emergency in Sindhupalchowk in August 2015.

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

WASH and Life Skill Camp @ Sankhu, Southern Lalitpur

The Journey to Sankhu – -Upama Tamla (Rai) (ECCA Counsellor)

[WASH and Life Skill Camp was held at Shree Magar Gaun Higher Secondary School, Sankhu, Lalitpur from June 7 to 9, 2015. The experiences of a camp staff …… ]

Sankhu team: From left to right:-Upama Tamla, Shashi Panta, Santosh Dahal, Manjeena Shrestha and Merina Karki

Sankhu team: From left to right:-Upama Tamla, Shashi Panta, Santosh Dahal, Manjeena Shrestha and Merina Karki

Leaving behind all the mess of chaotic Kathmandu, on 6th June, we entered Sankhu, a serene village located at far south of Lalitpur district. The moment we got there, gentle smiles and curious faces welcomed us. Children hovered around with handful of queries that we decided not to answer, just for the sake of surprising them the following day. Since we were to live on the school ground for the next three days, Rajkumar sir, a teacher at the school and also an ECCA counselor did his best for our comfortable accommodation. Even the children helped willingly. Our nearby neighbors were Nepal Army brothers who contributed with other basic requirements we would need during our stay at Sankhu. The evening was a busy one, we set up tents, interacted with several villagers who were extremely helpful and planned for the next day’s session with minds full of excitement.

Taking sessions in the classroom

Taking sessions in the classroom

We were welcomed by a morning full of anticipation on the first day of the camp. To avoid any confusion among the teachers about our sessions, we held a meeting. Thankfully, teachers at Sankhu sounded cooperative enough and with everything planned, we started our first session.

Students with copies distributed by ECCA

Students with copies distributed by ECCA

Distributing refreshments

Distributing refreshments

As the day went by, we discovered many new things. As easy as it felt to understand the sessions during our training period, it was as hard to pass them on to younger students and make them understand the gist of it. Most of the students were disciplined and well-mannered during the session time which boosted our confidence and ability to give our best. In this way, we gradually fulfilled our first day’s mission. We distributed copies, pencils and pens to all the students which they were happy to receive. Balloon blast proved to be the favorite game among little children where as the older ones loved to share their ideas through Future Ladder and other goal setting activities. Students enjoyed the refreshments we provided and all of us grew a step closer with fruitful interactions. When the day ended, we couldn’t believe we had had such a great time and it was only our first day of camp.

Handing over the materials to the Vice-Principal of Shree Magar Gaun Higher Secondary School

Handing over the materials to the Vice-Principal of Shree Magar Gaun Higher Secondary School

The Exhibition

The Exhibition

The next day continued with vigor and enthusiasm. The students continued to show active participation in all the sessions.

Before the final goodbye!

Before the final goodbye!

June 9th was our last day of taking sessions at Sankhu and we were quite sad about it. Nevertheless, we had remaining sessions to take and an exhibition to prepare. It was the day that would show how much we had achieved during the past two days. The first half of the day included several creative activities such as clay works where the students surprised us with their level of imagination. We were equally fascinated by the active participation of senior students’  in both outdoor and indoor activities including sharing their experiences of earthquake. At the end of the day, we held a short program in the afternoon among all the students, parents and teachers where we handed over game materials and a first aid kit (to the school). It was extremely overwhelming to see countless smiling faces that held gratitude and happiness for us being there. As we began wrapping everything up, it reminded us of how close we had gotten with those children over such a short period of time. When several students confidently spoke up on how effective our sessions had been and about the positive impacts they had left on  the students’ minds, we couldn’t help but be proud of ourselves as well as thank our seniors who helped make it possible. Every smiling face told us that we had been successful in fulfilling our objective and we could feel them inviting us again.

EARTHQUAKE RELIEF: UPDATE 4

 

WATASOL production continued in the weekend of May 2, 2015 as well. We were able to provide 489 bottles of 60ml and 29 bottles of 1 liter bottles accounting to 58 liters today. WATASOL reached Shankhadevi in Luboo, Shakhu, Dharmasthali, Sindhupalchowk, Teaching Hospital Health camp in Dhading, Jharasi, Kwarki, Bhimdhunga, Bhaktapur, Nakhipot, Kadagari, Matatirtha, Baneshwor and Teku.

WATASOL is tested for quality before distribution and can last up to 6 months when stabilized.

Wata Test kit

WATASOL Quality Test kit

Volunteers from RCHP (Rotaract Club of Himalaya Patan) have continued to lend their support to our cause.

ECCA has initiated #FillTheDrum program which contains daily necessities needed for a family of 5.

A single drum contains:

900+ WATASOL bottles ready for distribution

900+ WATASOL bottles ready for distribution

  • A First Aid Kit
  • Soaps
  • Toilet Paper
  • Tooth paste and 5 toothbrushes
  • Mat
  • 5 Face masks
  • Energy Bars/Chocolates
  • Needle and thread
  • Gloves
  • Towel
  • Match Stick
  • Torch Light
  • Daal/ Lentals
  • 2-3 kg of Rice
  • 1 Bucket
  • 1 Mug
  • Chiura/ Beaten Rice
  • Sanitary Pad
  • Oral Rehydration Salt/ Jeevan Jal
  • WATASOL

To increase support for our initiation and intensify the relief activites, we have also initiated a project in the website of Global Giving, an online fundraising platform. People all over the world with internet access can visit the project page and donate fund for the initiation. The project page could be visiting the following link : Support Nepal Earthquake Relief

Please help us spreading the word around your network and intensify the relief activities

EQ Disaster Relief (Update…)

The 2nd day of earthquake relief effort started with the distribution of WATASOL (Chlorine solution). WATASOL production rate was increased by using all the available WATA devices. Active volunteers continued in the aid efforts to make WATASOL available to the victims.

Ms. Junu (ECCA Staff) in action towards producing chlorine.

Ms. Junu (ECCA Staff) in action towards producing chlorine.

The ECCA volunteers along with members of Rotaract Club of Himalay Patan (RCHP) supported on bottling and distributing the chlorine solution today as well.

As more volunteers showed up, we were able to increase our areas of distribution to include Kalanki, Dhapakhel, Sanagaun, Naykhuchowk, Sankhu, and various other remote places across southern Lalitpur. ECCA is distributing WATASOL in bottles with the capacity of 60ml and 1 liter.

RCHP Volunteer Orienting about the use of Chlorine.

RCHP Volunteer Orienting about the use of Chlorine.

WATASOL was provided to the locality around Imadol, Bungmati and Khokana by several people who came to collect it individually.

Starting from yesterday, we have distributed a total of 102 liters of WATASOL that can purify 408,000 liters of water (1 liter of chlorine can purify 4,000 liters of water).

Thanks to Sunrise Homes Welfare Society, Balkumari, Lalitpur for agreeing to provide 100 liters of treated water per day, which will be used to produce WATASOL.

Water storage bags PackH2O was also distributed free of cost at Dhapakhel and southern Lalitpur.

To increase support for our initiation and intensify the relief activities, we have also initiated fund raising platform  in the Global Giving website : Earthquake Relief: Providing Safe  Drinking Water. People all over the world with internet access can visit the project page and donate fund for the initiation.

Please help us to spread the word around your network and intensify the relief activities.

Additionally, 50 tents were provided in Badaal Gaun, Kavre and coordination is being done with ICIMOD and other international / national agencies.

By: Palistha Shrestha (ECCA Volunteer)

ONE SCHOOL ONE HERITAGE – An Initiation towards Heritage Preservation

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In the present context of urbanization and globalization, we are bounded to embrace a bitter truth that our heritage is in deteriorating stage in an alarming rate. Among various reasons, foreign imported cultures are playing an influential role to create a gap in the thinking of the youths in regard the value of our culture and heritages. Hence, in order to sow the importance of heritage in the mind of youth and the community people, ECCA organized a training program on “One School One Heritage” in ECCA Hall on 3-4 November 2014.

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Nineteen energetic youths from different educational background, who are also the TGG members had actively participated in the training program. Experts in the field of Heritage Conservation and Youth Facilitation like Mr. Anil Chitrakar and Mr. Niroj Maharjan were invited to facilitate and interact with the participants during this 2 day’s intensive program. History and stories about the heritage, knowledge and skills required for preserving culture and heritage sites along with many informative discussions energized the participants to work towards the preservation of our local heritage.

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A field visit starting from Banglamukhi Temple in the second day provided a new perspective towards more practical learning and experience in the topics of heritage conservation and preservation. This field tour also helped the youths in developing their skills required to communicate with the local community as interaction with some of the community members were also organized during this trip.

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After an annoying half day field visit in the heritage sites and discussion with the community members, the participants still saved their energy to involve themselves in a group discussion. Keeping the working methodology of ECCA in mind, the participants were divided into various groups and were actively engaged in the discussion and preparation of an action plan on Documentation & Promotion, Visibility, Student Mobilization and Conservation. The action plan prepared the trained youths will be utilized through initiating training and informing school students in order to promote One School One Heritage Program in the schools and the community. In turn, the students will now be working towards conserving and preserving the heritage sites near their school and disseminating the importance and their values.

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Heritages are our identity since many years past. It has been passed on to us from our ancestors. Heritages built centuries earlier are under shade due to their negligence. Through this program we expect that these heritages which are neglected will soon get acknowledged, and the efforts made by youths, students and the community will valued in the long run.

 

Article Contributors: Mr. Angel Chitrakar, Mr. Dipesh Gurung