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

 

 

WE HAVE A MESSAGE FOR YOU

 


Dear all,

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) is currently in its 29th year of establishment. Over the years, we have succeeded in making significant improvements in the sector of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), school environment, community development, promotion of alternate and renewable technologies (A Clean Solar Alternative to Kerosene Lamps,  ICS training) and even conservation related entrepreneurship. We can proudly say that our actions have helped people change their lives. Women in Jajarkot have learnt to invest in income generating activities through saving and credit schemes initiated among their own group. Children of Dolakha have learnt to initiate community awareness programs on their own. Our actions have made a difference in a sense that each trained member in the society now bears a sense of responsibility. The earthquake was however a turning phase for all but it proved more of a reason to work harder right from renovation and rebuilding to development that offers sustainability. From construction of Temporary Learning Centers to formation of nature club in schools, we have been attempting to bring progressive change from local to national level.

This note, henceforth, is to remind each of you contributors for your priceless support because all our successful attempts would have not been possible without you. To all supporters who are incessantly helping us in every way, be it on site volunteering or project donations, we express our heartfelt gratitude. To every heart out there that believes in us, we are thankful.

Considering the present hardships (due to cold weather) being faced by the earthquake affected people (who are still living in temporary makeshift shelters), ECCA recently initiated a campaign Win Against Winter. We’re sure we’ll receive support from each one of you as well.

We wish to move on with your ever-growing aspiration to help our motives.

Thank you!

ECCA Nepal

 

 

Counseling Training For Community Learning Centers

“The earthquake hasn’t come to an end yet. If it should occur unpredictably, we need to be prepared in every manner for possible losses. But along with empowerment of personal strength, building skills to effectively counsel others is equally important”, said ECCA program officer Rabindra Khatri  while facilitating a counseling training in National Resource Center for Non Formal Education, Satdobato on December 30.

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Program Officer Mr.Rabindra Khatri during a session

The two days counseling training which was facilitated by ECCA in co-ordination with NRC-NFC primarily focused on teaching best counseling techniques to the participants those including psychological healing methodologies and lifeskill activities. Over 24 representatives from 4   CLCs(Community Learning Centers) of 2 districts Bhaktapur and Lalitpur were invited. From interactive art sessions to experience sharing, participants learnt creative ways to deal with victims of disasters like earthquake.

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An interactive communication activity

“I feel that my capability to counsel anyone with trauma has increased. I am glad I got invited for this training”, responded one of the participants at the end of the training.

For more photos visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.693279017441366.1073741953.116503395118934&type=1&l=e130d30aec

 

 

From a Mother’s Eyes

A fine December afternoon in Durbar Square and I was barely thinking of anything except enjoying the sun. Out of nowhere, a child dressed in traditional nepali attire gunyo-cholo appeared. Her young age and physical features were a deception otherwise the way she presented herself would make anyone think of her as a much matured woman. I was flabbergasted by her flawless act which started gathering attention of people around. I followed her and a bunch of similarly costumed children appeared on the platform.They all talked about issues related to water and health. Some were laden by water-borne diseases, some trying to seek out the solutions. As the act got exciting by each minute, something stroke my mind. I m.jpgbegan thinking of simple issues that I gave myself no time to think before. Questions
brainstormed- “The glass of water I drank at the canteen hurriedly this morning, was it safe enough to drink?”  “Have I been providing my children with pure and germfree water?” “Am I good parent?” “What are the safety determining factors of drinking water?”

I saw the drama team struggle with water-related problems and I realized I knew a solution or two! The children explored a safer world offered by hygienic behaviours and clean water and I realized that safe drinking water being a global issue cannot be veiled by ignorance anymore. Day to day caution is a must to build up progressive health behaviours in oneself. I learnt that simple actions like regular use of WATASOL could contribute to a healthier living.


I snapped out of my thoughts as I heard the crowd clapping. The drama had end. I felt what just happened in front of me was more than just a drama by a bunch of children. It was an act of reminder by conscious members of society trying to guide people like me to a healthier world. Finally I returned home that night with a handful of WATASOLs. I planned on having a talk with my children about drinking water precautions tonight and I knew it would be interesting to introduce them to this disinfectant technique of chlorination/WATASOL!

-Upama Tamla(Rai), ECCA

[With reference to a safe drinking water themed drama performed by Bal Binod Nature Club of Na:tole, Lalitpur in MangalBazaar, Patan, Nepal on December 9, 2015. To support ECCA’s mission of providing ‘Safe Water For Healthy Nepal’ donate us through our Global Giving website.]

 

 

 

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.]

Improving lives in Dhime; story of Mr.Gorakh B. Bista

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Mr. Gorakh Bahadur Bista, Dhime-1, Jajarkot

Mr. Gorakh Bahadur Bista, a 38 years old resident of Dhime-1, Damala, Jajarkot remembers how winter drought used to cause irrigation water scarcity in his village a year ago. There used to be declining food productivity rate for months. Food import was possible but lack of transportation facilities and road in the district and resulting skyrocketing prices affected people to a huge extent. Mr. Bista, who regards agriculture to be the main occupation of majority of people in Jajarkot, says that it wasn’t strange for men to leave for India or gulf countries in search of manual works as the crops lasting period was only 6 months in a year.

He along with his villagers has now found a way to extend agricultural productivity period. With the construction of plastic ponds during CAV (Climate Adaptation Village) programme implemented by ECCA  with the support of LI-BIRD last year. The programme which consists of training on home gardening as well as seed support is focused mainly to help low income people.  Mr. Bista is now successfully cultivating varieties of vegetables, fruits and other crops even in the time of drought.

“With seven family members to look after, it was always a struggle to fulfill even the basic need such as food. Adopting this method of water collection has been a huge support for my family. We collect water in the plastic pond then use it for irrigation later through pipes”, said Mr. Bista with a smile.

It is not only Mr. Bista who single-handedly benefits from this method of water preservation. One of these plastic ponds helps over 23 households at a time and one household consists of at least 3 to 12 members. There are few ponds for now in the village but it is only a matter of time that each household in Jajarkot gets advantaged through this simple yet beneficial way of prolonging agricultural productivity.

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Mr. Bista (left) looks on while irrigating his field with water collected in the plastic pond

-Upama Tamla (Rai), ECCA

AWARE AND ACT TODAY!

Kopila, a  primary level student in Kavrepalanchowk  never attends school regularly. Due to lack of toilets, it is very difficult for her especially during the time of her menstruation. Not only her, but even the boys are compelled to go to forests or cliffs for excreting purpose which is dangerous enough.

There are thousands of students who suffer like this in everyday life.  In Nepal, only 27% of the population has access to a proper toilet (WaterAid Nepal). Majority of people have no option but to defecate in the open. Along with this the knowledge of washing hands with soaps or similar disinfectants after using toilet is more of a matter involving ignorance rather than lack of knowledge. Especially during the time of emergency and crisis, people often tend to forget its importance hence number of sanitation-related diseases evolve taking the form of an epidemic.

Hence, ECCA decided to take this year’s World Toilet Day ECCA as an opportunity to spread awareness in an effective manner- through direct communication with the people. Students and nature club members were included along with enthusiastic volunteers. Together with communicating with the public by costumed characters portrayed by nature club students of  Lalit Kalyan Kendra Lower Secondary School, Bholdhoka, ECCA volunteers organized a sanitation related flashmob which was then followed by a lively drama show. People enjoyed and applauded each section of the program. Furthermore, students of Bal Vinod Secondary School, Na:tole kept a stall on WATASOL.

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“I never knew there existed a ‘World Toilet Day’! I now feel more responsible towards awaring my society on being cautious regarding toilets and hygieneic behaviours. Moreover, seeing these youths come together with such a beautiful concept is motivating for all the onlookers”, responded Bikrant Shrestha in the audience.

 

 

Festival with a purpose

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It is a group of young minds that is keen on innovating new and meaningful ideas. This year students of Shree Majhgaun Srijansil Pratkiti Bal Club (Shree Majhgaun Creative Nature Club) of Mirge-1, Dolakha celebrated Tihar in their community by advocating about safe drinking water measures that one should adopt inorder to lead a healthy life.

Deusi-bhailo program that the nature club held wasn’t just about entertainment. Along with giving blessings for wealth, happiness and prosperity, the members communicated with the community through songs involving water and sanitation issues. Furthermore, they gifted WATASOLs, a  water purifying liquid that they have been producing themselves after attending training given by ECCA. The team elaborated about its easy use, advantages, low cost and production methods to the people as they travelled from house to house celebrating Deusi-bhailo.

“Because of the earthquake, we feel that it is even more important to keep raising these types of issues as the earthquake has led people to unconsciously degrade their health behaviours. Making people aware about their drinking water and health habits saves them from outbreak of (water-borne) diseases as well”, expressed one of the club members during a feedback meeting.

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

 

“Driven Towards Light”; story of Ms. Rupkala B.K., Jajarkot

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“With our poor economic condition, we always had to struggle to put food on our table. When time grew harder, going to India in search of manual work was the only option to get our life going. Life was a huge challenge for us before the women group was formed.” – Rupkala B.K. (general member, Kimeri Mahila Bachat Samuha, Punma VDC, Jajarkot)

Rupkala B.K.  is a mother of three children. With more than five members to care for in the family, it was difficult for Rupkala to manage household expenses a year ago when her husband travelled around in search of work. Rearing few cattle used to help her pay but it was never enough. She wished she could do more for her children but just paying their educational bills was a tough job. Sometimes buying clothes meant there’d be no food for months.  Having gone through such situation, her problems were endless sources of frustration for her.

Her life took a turn when she got introduced to Kimeri Mahila Bachat Samuha (Kimeri Women Saving Group) formed by ECCA. Her participation in various trainings provided her an opportunity to improve her living standard hand in hand with fellow women who have been experiencing similar problems as hers. With the loan of 20,000 rupees that she took from the group, she has been able to gain benefit by investing it in goat farming. “Life has gotten better,” she says. Ever since she took the saving and credit training, she has been saving money in a monthly basis. As a general member, she regularly attends monthly meetings where she discusses about community problems and adoptable solutions with her fellow members. This has helped her in opening up about her problems and also in her ability of public speaking. But it’s not just her personal development that got upgraded. For someone who had never before given a thought to sanitation and personal hygiene of her family, she is now conscious about maintaining hygienic environment in her surroundings. And after attending training on nutrition and home gardening through farmer field school approach and seed support, she  regards herself as ‘more skillful’ in being able to produce her own vegetables. “Unlike before, I think myself to be more competent in initiating productive activities. I have learnt a lot and never before I have been this energized”, she quoted.

As forty years old Rupkala sat on her porch, explaining how the women group brought a change in her life, it brought a reflection on how far we had been successful in our attempt to develop skills, capability and unity in women of Jajarkot. Her story resembles lives of almost all women living in Punma. To see the improvement in her life and a hundred more women like her who are directly or indirectly being benefitted through this project would be a huge inspiration for anyone.

At last, we would like to thank Kinder MISSIONSWERK, Caritas Nepal and all our supporters for helping us bring positive change in the lives of people in Jajarkot.

-Upama Tamla (Rai), ECCA

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