Counselor Training Camp in Dolakha

ECCA conducted 3 days Counselor Training Camp in Mirge Health Post of Mirge VDC, Dolakha from 17th– 19th March 2016. The training focused on making youths aware about sustainable school environment improvement plans and proceedings. Continue reading

Herbal Garden Education for Students In Nepal

Today’s young generation is indulged in the glory of magnifying technological advancement, a breach between human kind and nature. When minds are constantly diverted to alluring factors of modernization, engaging this generation of youths towards conservation activities such as preserving indigenous plants and creating a greener environment isn’t an easy task. But it isn’t impossible either. With sheer motive of luring young students towards undertaking herbal knowledge, the concept of training enthusiastic members of pre-established nature clubs was a leap towards herbal conservation in Nepal. Now, ECCA has managed to provide trainings and engage students in establishing eco-friendly herbal gardens in above 40 schools all over the country.

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An ECCA volunteer helps a student to plant a sapling

Herbs like Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia spilanthus), Aloe Vera, Satavari (Asparagus Racemosus), Kapoor herb (Cinnamomim Camphora) etc  are being grown and preserved by the students. But the species obviously differs according to the physical and climatic factors influencing the environment as well as chemical composition of the soil. By establishing herbal gardens, students say that they have felt closer to the nature. They have learnt the essence of medicinal value of herbs and what it takes to nourish them into healthy plants. It is also a matter detailed planning, tasks allocation and teamwork along with being a source of inspiration to fellow students.

But it is not only students who get benefitted. Everything feels productive when most of the teachers respond as “Seeing our students work together and create a healthier school environment for all inspires us as well. Even we get to learn as much as them and it encourages us to create herbal garden in our homes as well.”

However, the April earthquake caused huge devastation destroying number of herbal gardens along with the school buildings. Nature club members are in the phase of renovating herbal gardens once again. To inspire that generation of youths even more, ECCA is planning to award those with best herbal garden in upcoming days. We are grateful to all who have been supporting us in this regard and for those who want to help will be welcomed as ever.  For regular updates regarding our programs and activities, please visit our website, Facebook,  Twitter and YouTube Channel.

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.

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

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

EQ RELIEF: ENABLING VILLAGERS TO MAKE PROPER SHELTER

Distribution of corrugated GI sheets

Distribution of corrugated GI sheets

Badalgaun, Kavre, another project site of ECCA received relief materials on May 9th in the form of tools for the construction of shelter. The relief materials consisted of a bundle of corrugated GI sheets (6 sheets in one bundle), hammer, saw, wire and nails for each family. The relief materials were distributed to a total of 250 households in cooperation with Swiss Humanitarian Agency (SHA).

Villagers awaiting their turn

Villagers awaiting their turn

On May 7, ECCA supported shelter – CGI Sheets for 300 households of ward 3 in Gairibisauni, Kavrepalanchwok.

“We are very thankful for receiving all these tools. These tools have helped us in the reconstruction of our houses in the long run. With these, we feel that we are already one step closer in building our new houses”, a villager said with a small smile.

Villagers with their share of the relief materials

Villagers with their share of the relief materials

With 90% of the village damaged by the earthquake, people in earthquake affected rural areas have been traumatized. Many villagers haven’t even begun to think beyond their current predicament. ECCA hopes that with these tools, the villagers will be enabled to start the construction of proper shelter before the start of rainy season.

To increase support for our initiation and intensify the relief activities, 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 Support Nepal Earthquake Relief and donate.

Please help us spread the word around your network through Facebook and Twitter and intensify our relief activities.

UNESCO-GLOBE Learning Expedition – Nepal

The GLOBE Regional Coordination Office for Asia and Pacific joined with The Indian Environmental Society (IES) in collaboration with UNESCO New Delhi and Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) of Kathmandu to organize a five-day UNESCO – GLOBE Learning Expedition in Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal. The purpose the event was to understand the effects of climate change in the region, to engage in field studies, and to explore the various UNESCO World Heritage sites located in Kathmandu.

UNESCO-GLOBE Learning Expedition Team members.

UNESCO-GLOBE Learning Expedition Team members.

The program welcomed 28 participants, from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal to Kathmandu and Pokhara from 8-13 January 2015.

From Kathmandu, the group traveled by bus to Pokhara, stopping enroute at the small town of Maleku where they initiated field studies using hydrology protocols on the Trishuli River. They collected data concerning the pH of the river water, as well as temperature, turbidity and conductivity. Participants discussed the importance of these protocols and the impact on the local environment that comes from engaging in a focused study of the water. Biotic life and environmental conditions near the river’s periphery were also observed and discussed. While traveling, participants were also able to observe and learn about topographical variation and the type of vegetation in hilly areas and to observe the impact of the landscape on lifestyles of the villagers living there. The group arrived in Pokhara by early evening.

Discussing with participants to get the temperature data of water sample.

Discussing with participants to get the temperature data of water sample.

The following morning the group made an early ascent to Sarangkot to view the breathtaking view of the Pokhara Valley and the grand Himalayan Mountains. From this spectacular vantage point they discussed the geology of the region. Later that morning the group visited Mahendra Cave, to see firsthand how water carves its way deep into the Earth, and to understand the geology and morphology of soil structure.

At Lake Phewa, the group took three hydrological parameters of water samples: temperature, turbidity and pH. The group also visited Devi’s Fall – where the water cascades from Lake Phewa to Gupteshwor Cave – where the water subsides into the Earth. At the cave, the participants also studied the geology of the cave and discussed how caves are formed through hydrological activity.

While in Pokhara, the group also visited the International Mountaineering Museum, which provided firsthand accounts of the changing climate of the Himalayas and its impact in on the lives of people living in the region. Viewing the documentary in museum about life of the Sherpas (a tribal community living in Himalayas) helped the group to understand the culture of Himalayan people living in the harsh climate of the high hills. Information and insights about biodiversity and climate change of Nepal was an important take-away of this expedition.

Upon returning to Kathmandu, the group visited the Natural History Museum, where specimens of various insects and animals are preserved. Visiting the museum helped the participants to increase their knowledge and understanding about tribal life in Nepal.  Dr. Dharma Dangol (Professor of Tribhuvan University) shared his insights about the local environment and the urgency of preserving wildlife diversity.

Visits to four UNESCO world heritage sites:

UNESCO-GLOBE Expedition Participants from MGD School, Rajasthan, India.

Swayambhunath temple, Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa and Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, provided a glimpse of the unique history and culture of the area.

On the afternoon of the final day, a closing ceremony brought all participants together for final summing up of lessons learned; distribution of certificates by the Director of ECCA Mr. Yogendra Chittraka; a presentation about the MGD’s School from the students from India who also performed a Rajasthani song for their hosts. The Nepalese participants presented  activities from their Nature Clubs. A message from India’s Prime Minister, the Honorable Mr. Narendra Modi was delivered by Ms. Agrima Verma. Prime Minister Modi’s personal message to the expedition participants, urging them to save the environment, was particularly affecting.

Ms. Agrima Varma

This article is also published in GLOBE website.

 

Creating Hope through Solar Tuki

The Year 2014 had been an incredibly successful for us in terms of bringing HOPE & SMILE in the faces of Children & Students – The Future Youth of Nepal. It is believed that pictures speaks thousands word of expression. Hence, we have tried to put some pictures in the form of movie as a story of Glauthok VDC, Chitwan District, Nepal. Hope you all will enjoy this 2 minutes and 57 seconds presentation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i1TtQXMnMM We express our Gratitude towards all our well wishers and supporters for helping us and making a difference. You can support us promoting our Light For All Campaign through GlobalGiving. Please share the link in your networks and help us spread our work. Do follow us in our Facebook Page, twitter and subscribe our Youtube Channel for more updates.