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

A Month Into Relief & Recovery

Still after a month passed since the major earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April 2015, the devastation caused by the earthquake continues to hamper the lives of almost 8 million people in Nepal who were affected.

Stabilizing WATASOL

Stabilizing WATASOL

Fearing the outbreak of water-borne diseases, ECCA initiated to production of WATASOL (Chlorine Solution) from the 2nd day of EQ as an immediate response to tackle the possible problem of safe drinking water and sanitation issues in the communal shelters where people are forced to live their lifes. The WATASOL produced were immediately distributed for free to the affected families through mobilizing ECCA Volunteers and other organizations who were directly involved with the relief activities. More than 50 active volunteers worked tirelessly in bottling and packaging the chlorine solution along with its distribution in various locations and communal shelters. As of 28th May, ECCA has distributed over 27,000 bottles of 60ml (one to be used in each household) and over 800 bottles of 1 liter (for community water distribution system) chlorine solution amounting to a total of over 2,400 liters of chlorine that can purify 9,212,240 liters of water. Considering national average household size of 5 person, around 200,000 people have benefitted for a month.

Orientation on Sanitation and Hyginene

Orientation on Sanitation and Hyginene

Nepal being a developing country consists of many rural areas with mud houses. Almost all of such houses have collapsed due to the earthquake, turning entire villages into rubble. The nearing of the monsoon season and frequent landslides has piled up the long list of difficulties faced by the victims. The weather itself has been relentless with harsh winds and thunderous rains.

Tents being set-up at Dalchowki

Tents being set-up at Dalchowki

Hence, keeping the need of shelter in mind, ECCA distributed over 1300 units of tents & tarpaulin to families in rural areas in Dolakha, Lalitpur, Sindhupalchowk and Kavre Districts. More than 6500 people have benefited from the tents distributed.

ECCA also distributed over 850 Food Packages to people in the devastated areas of the above mentioned districts from which over 4,500 people have benefited. The distribution of food supplies were only possible through the support of various organizations like NDRA Dallas, HANDS Pakistan, Globalgiving foundations (US & UK), NAO and other individual supporters.

A volunteer form ECCA briefing on the use of the filters

A volunteer form ECCA briefing on the use of the filters

Over 100 sets of water filters were distributed in various locations of Lalitpur, Kavre, Bhaktapur, Sindhupalchok & Nuwakot which had over 500 beneficiaries.

Distribution of CGI sheets and Self Help kits through the support of SHA made the life of rural people easier in this time of disaster where people were looking for temporary shelter for their families.

Immediately after the earthquake, ECCA focused its resources in relief works. Now, ECCA is focusing on recovery works in the schools and the adjourning communities.

We would like to thank all our supporters and donors for helping us in our initiation of relief and recovery activities after EQ. Without your help and support, we would not have been able to achieve success in helping the EQ affected families. in order 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 in the cause that we are working on.

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

By: Angel Chitrakar & Palistha Shrestha

EQ Relief: Filter Distribution

There is no disagreement that Water could be a simplest and easiest medium to get infected or transmission of various viral diseases in the current situation of natural disaster. Hence, use of safe water for various purposes in our day to day life needs to be carefully monitored and precautions need to be taken. Scarcity of water at various locations is seen due to disturbance in water distribution system. Hence, distribution of water various POU Water treatment option like water filter and WATASOL (chlorine solution) has been intensified from ECCA.

Locally Assembled ECCA Filter.

Locally Assembled ECCA Filter.

Till today, in coordination and financial support from various organizations like Nepalese Disaster Relief Association (NDRA) Dallas, Himalayan Crossroads, Nepal Child Club Network and local youth groups, 100 sets of water filters were distributed in various locations of Lalitpur, Kavre, Bhaktapur, Sindhupalchok & Nuwakot.

An orphanage located in Jharuwarashi, Lalitpur, sheltering 62 children were provided 10 sets of filter along with 10 pc of water jar for storing and carrying water. Due to the earthquake, the water storage tank got tampered and water well dried, threatening continuous supply of water of the daily use of children. Through the use of filtered water for drinking purpose, the children are now ensured to have safe water as well as far reach of water borne diseases.

Filters provided to EQ affected families of Nuwakot.

Filters provided to EQ affected families of Nuwakot.

Similarly, 10 sets of filter were distributed to the residents of Nuwakot where families were forced to live in communal shelters due to damage in their houses. In coordination with NCCN, 3 filters were distributed in Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur, where 65 people were sheltered in tent. “The health condition of people in the tents were not good and they have no access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Most of the children started to with getting illness day by day”, Ms. Roni Shakya, one of the volunteers of ECCA and member of NCCN briefed the condition of communal shelter in Bhaktapur. “Distribution of these filters have ensured the availability of safe drinking water to the families living outside in tents”, she further added as she took incharge for the distribution of filter in Bhaktapur. Safe water for drinking purpose in these communal areas became a big challenge which was tackled through installing the filter in the community.

Children using the ECCA WATER FILTER

Children using the ECCA WATER FILTER

In coordination with Himalayan Crossroads, 30 sets of filters were distributed for the EQ affected families in Chokati village of Sindhupalchok District and 40 sets of filters were installed in the community shelter at Kathmandu, where families displaced from Sindhupalchok were rehabilitated.

The water filter that ECCA has been assembling are prepared through using treatment of silver colloidal solution which ensures the purity of water upto 99.99%.

A small child drinking water from the FILTER

A small child drinking water from the FILTER

To increase support for our initiation and intensify the relief activities, we would like to request you to share our project placed in Global Giving website for online fundraising Earthquake Relief: Providing Safe  Drinking Water. Please help us spread the word around your network through Facebook and Twitter and intensify our relief activities

By: Angel Chitrakar, Priyanka Ghale & Palistha Shrestha

 

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.

Computer Education – On The Move

21st November 2014 (Friday) was the day on which 3 sets of desktop computers were successfully installed in the computer lab. Accompanied by 2 old desktop computers at Shree Minnath Adarsha Shikya Sadan Lower Secondary School, the mini lab now have 5 fully operational desktop computers to be used for educational purpose by the students. 52 students from grade 6 to 8 will now have computer education with practical knowledge of information technology through first hand experience.

The Newly Setup Computer Lab at Shree Minnath Adarsha Shikya Sadan LSS.

The Newly Setup Computer Lab at Shree Minnath Adarsha Shikya Sadan LSS.

As a part of Support A Child Campaign, the computers were handed over to the school through organizing a function inviting members from school management committee, teachers, students and local guardians. The guest and attendees along with the teachers and school management committee thanked ECCA and all the supporters of this program for running this campaign and also expressed their hope for its continuity in coming days ahead.

“We are really excited to have new computers in our school. This will help us know more about the world, English education and makes us competitive. Now we hope that we will get to learn computers in a better way than before” – shares a student of grade – 7. “In addition, this will certainly improve our compulsion of sharing one computer by five to eight students like earlier days, which was a real obstacle for our proper computer learning class”.

Miss Nanu – computer teacher expressed “I believe necessity of better infrastructure of computers is solved towards the smooth operation of computer classes and will help students to pursue better computer education which was otherwise very difficult with only two well-conditioned computers in school”. She further adds the necessity of well-trained computer trainer in the future for the school as she admits the growing interest and the skills of the students towards computer education in a very dramatic way compared to the past.

Trying to learn Typing

Trying to learn Typing

The activities and the interests shown by the students are always reported to be remarkable indeed, as also shared by Miss Anna, an international volunteer, with her experience of teaching English language to the same students in the past days. She had also been very happy to see the everlasting hope and enthusiasm in the eyes and deeds of these students’ through which everybody gains the feeling that these students need eternal support. This gives us a chance to recognize that the children, within their learning period are most of the time, which simply have not had the right supporters around them-because of circumstances beyond their control. For this, this campaign of ‘Support a Child-Help Child go to school and study’ run by ECCA has given them a milestone support and love to these learning students.

We would like to acknowledge all our donors through Global Giving and supporters for helping us in our initiation to bring some changes in the future of children in Nepal. Glimpses of the program activities could be viewed in the album placed in Facebook. Do subscribe our blog post, facebook page and twitter to get yourself updated in our activities. We look forward towards your support in our campaign Support A child.

Discover Historic Bhaktapur with ECCA

On Saturday August 16th, ECCA will be leading a cultural heritage walk around the historic city of Bhaktapur. This exciting event will be an unmissable chance to discover this beautiful city with ECCA’s expert guide.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Located around 12km east of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur is known as the ‘City of Devotees’, and has been praised as the ‘City of Culture’, the ‘Living Heritage’, and ‘Nepal’s Cultural Gem’. Founded in the 12th century by King Ananda Malla, Bhaktapur, Bhaktapur was the largest of the three Newar kingdoms of the Kathmandu valley, and was the capital city of Nepal during the Great Malla Kingdom until the 15th century.

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Monuments in Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur’s historic city center is filled with stunning ancient monuments, temples and palaces. It has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, recognized for its exquisitely preserved buildings adorned with intricate carvings. Bhaktapur is a peaceful place, where large vehicles are banned from entering the city center. The city is famed for a special type of curd called ‘ju ju dhau’. The authentic version of this delicious, thick curd can only be found in Bhaktapur, where it is traditionally eaten in clay pots. It is also a city renowned for its festivals, holding some of the largest celebrations for Bisket Jatra (Nepali New Year), where an enormous chariot is pulled through the streets, and a tug of war is held between the eastern and western sides of the city.

New Year's celebrations in Bhaktapur

New Year’s celebrations in Bhaktapur

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Crowds gather to celebrate Bisket Jatra

ECCA’s guided walk around Bhaktapur is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our cultural heritage, and why it is important for us to preserve places of such historical and religious significance. The walk is also being carried out in support of ECCA’s campaign to support school students to learn important computer skills. ECCA plans to provide Shree Minnath Aadarsha Lower Secondary school in Lalitpur with six computers to help students gain essential I.T. skills, to enable them to have a brighter future. All profits from the walk will be donated towards this campaign. To find out more, or to donate directly to the cause, please visit our GlobalGiving page.

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Intricate temple decorations

Those wishing to experience and learn more about the rich heritage of Bhaktapur with ECCA’s knowledgeable guide must register for the event by Tuesday 12th August. Registration is limited to 25 places, which will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment! The registration fee is Rs.999/- , which includes snacks and lunch. To reserve, please contact us (ecca@mos.com.np), or visit our office during opening hours. Those joining the walk will meet at 9.45am sharp at Bhaktapur Durbar Square Gate; the walk will last for four hours between 10am and 2pm.

We hope to see you there!

Supporting Children to Learn English- An International Volunteer’s Experience

English volunteer Anna Waters has been working with ECCA over the past four months. As part of ECCA’s ‘Support A Child’ campaign, she has been giving English language classes to students from Shree Minnath Aadarsha Lower Secondary School, a government-funded school in Lalitpur. She has also been involved in creating a fundraising project through GlobalGiving to provide computers for the students at this school.

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English volunteer Anna Waters

“I have really enjoyed giving English classes here,” she says. “As a qualified teacher, I am used to teaching English as a second language to students of all ages and abilities, but it’s been a very different experience from giving lessons in Europe. Here in Nepal, the students are really interested and motivated to learn English, and they are keen to make the most of the classes.

Hard-working Grade 7 students have been taking English classes with Anna twice a week

Hard-working Grade 7 students have been taking English classes with Anna twice a week

The lessons I give focus on interaction, so that students can practise speaking, which is one of the most important things about learning a language. We also play educational games to help them memorise the new vocabulary and to have some fun in the classroom!

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Classes encourage students to interact together. Grade 7 students Dipendra and Anita are carrying out a class survey

For me, teaching is very rewarding as I can see the students making progress each week. I enjoy the challenge of thinking of creative ways of making the lessons fun and educational, and it always makes me happy to see the students enjoying their classes. They have made a lot of progress in a short space of time. I hope that they will remember what they have learnt and will continue to study English in the future!”

Students working together to practise speaking in English

Students working together to practise speaking in English

Anna has also been involved in creating a fundraising campaign to provide computers for the students at this school. She hopes that this will help the students to learn the I.T. skills which they need in future. “At the school, the students are really struggling to learn computer skills due to the lack of computers available”, she explains. “It would be wonderful if we can raise the necessary funds to support their education”.

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Grade 8 students Muna and Manoj have also been studying English with Anna. Here they are learning how to use computer programs.

To support Anna’s campaign to provide computers for this school, please visit our GlobalGiving page.

 

Helping Students to Learn Computer Skills

Imagine a classroom of students learning how to use computers. For many school students around the world, this is something which is taken for granted. We are living in a digital age where children grow up with a greater knowledge of computers than their parents have, and kids as young as four or five often already know how to use ipads, tablets, laptops, smart phones…

For students at Shree Minnath Aadarsha Lower Secondary School in Lalitpur, however, learning how to use a computer is a real challenge. At this government-funded school, children don’t have access to computers at home, so their computer education starts and ends in their classes. Yet this school has only four PCs, which is not nearly enough for the classes of up to sixteen students. The computers are very old and running at a slow speed, and often break down completely. Students are therefore given no option but to share the computers in large groups, which means they spend most of their weekly one-hour class waiting for their turn.

Grade 8 students crowded around the only two working computers

Grade 8 students crowded around the two working computers

“Sometimes some of the students don’t have the chance to use the computer at all during the classes,” says school principal Kalpana Kyastha. “They feel very frustrated and it’s difficult for them to learn that way”.

Students Karuna, Rupa and Jyoti taking turns to use the computer

Students Karuna, Rupa and Jyoti taking turns to use the computer

Students at this school need to learn computer skills in order to have the chance of entering higher education or starting any job which would require them to use a computer. At the moment, this is almost impossible for them.

Manoj and Muna share another computer

Manoj and Muna share another computer

With the help of Anna Waters, an international volunteer from England, ECCA is launching a new project to support computer education for the students in this school. The project will raise funds which will be used to buy six new computers. With these additional computers, students will be able to work individually or in pairs, rather than in large groups, when they are studying I.T. We plan to raise $2000 in order to improve computer learning and support the children at this school to gain important skills for life and to have a brighter future. The fundraising for this project will run for ninety days on our GlobalGiving page, and we hope to smash the target by the end of this time.

Students with their teacher and principal, Kalpana Kyastha

Students with their teacher and principal, Kalpana Kyastha

Can you help us make a difference to these children’s futures? If so, don’t miss this opportunity to support our campaign!

To donate to the cause, please visit our GlobalGiving page.