Despite relatively low number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nepal, the lockdown over there is very strict - with people being beaten up by the police if they leave their houses without proper emergency passes. Many of the families that we have been supported by Our Sansar have lost their sources of income (usually daily factory or field workers, selling tea or other things on the street or simply begging on the streets) and have no access to food or other necessities. Main casts that that have been experiencing issues are Doms and Dalits (untouchables) - and majority don't have official citizenship or fixed address and hence don't qualify for the minimal support provided by the government to some families. Some experts are predicting famine in Nepal if the lockdown is not lifted soon. With the new cases of coronavirus in Birgunj, southern Nepal, though it looks like it might be there to stay for a bit.
Our Sansar have now started to support some of the families (as a government partner the charity are able to get a pass to deliver the food) and have bought the first packages. These will last for 3 weeks per family. The basic support package includes rice, lentils, oil, salt, potatoes, and soap. And then other support when needed, for example bamboo to help one lady rebuild her house or medicines.
Our Sansar is the only charity working to assist street children in this part of Nepal. Through the first ever child helpline in the region and the children's home project the charity is able to identify and reach the families that are in real need but cannot access any assistance elsewhere. To find out more or to support the campaign please follow the link: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/coronavirus-relief-for-families-in-southern-nepal/
Some stories of the families that are being provided with support:
- A lady with 3 small children. She has lost her job as a temporary worker and they are staying in a cow shed with no food for her or her children.
- A lady who is deaf and has 2 small children. She was working in a factory making gravestones and hasn't been able to work since the beginning of the lockdown. So no money to feed her children
- An old lady who is a grandmother to 2 children that have no parents. She used to sell small things on the street but hasn't been able to do that since the lockdown so has no money for food or medicine.
- A lady who used to make tea and sell it on the street. She is a mum of one young boy and she has various issues with her mental health. Now she has no money for food or medicine that she needs to survive.
- A lady with 4 small children. Her husband passed away last year and she has been working on construction sites as a temporary labourer but is unable to work now due to the lockdown. There were storms in the area about a week ago and her mud hut got destroyed during one of these so now she has no home, no money for food or anything else.
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Our Sansar, on Saturday 9 May, 2020. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/