Anju is usually seen reading on her veranda or playing outside her home when our Didis (Rukmini Foundation’s mentors) go meet her during their monthly home visits. She always welcomed her mentors with a happy smile and great enthusiasm. This, unfortunately, was not the case this time as Anju and her family were perched outside their crumbling house, with no food or water, in a makeshift tent they had to now call their new home.

Pramila and Sabina with family of Anju

Anju (third from the left) sits next to RF mentors Pramila and Sabina, her father ( far right)

The recent devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25 has left Anju and her family essentially homeless. Anju lives in Simpani Village with her father, younger sister and two brothers. When our staff went to visit Anju’s family, we could easily see that her house was not in a livable condition. With the ongoing aftershocks, the major cracks throughout the walls and the ceilings continue to grow, and the already weakened foundation appears on the verge of collapse. Even going back inside to look for remaining belongings is a dangerous proposition for Anju and her family.

Anjus father shows major crack

Anju’s father (center) shows RF staff the cracks outside his house

Upon seeing the family’s condition, our staff decided they would need to immediately provide them with emergency relief items, Anju was relieved to have the support from her mentors and shared her experience of having to live under a tent now. “It is terrifying. Our house is next to the forest, so I get scared because we may get attacked by wild animals and snakes.” The tent the family currently have is not big enough, making them feel exposed at night. “It gets really cold at night and we are starting to get ill.” Living in a small tent, with no running water or latrines, can be much more than just uncomfortable. Anju’s family members are already experiencing health issues like stomach pains, fever, body ache, and headache. Having access to clean water and medicines to prevent further illness is crucial.

observing tent and living condition of Anjus family_2 family are livig under this tent

Anju and her family are currently living under the tent shown above

Our Didi (mentor), Sabina expresses great sadness as she says, “It has been difficult for us to see our students in such conditions, but we have to stay strong for them. We need to be there for them and also give them moral support, advice on how to stay safe, and the basic necessities to keep them safe.” Anju has always been a survivor though and we know she will stay strong. From a very young age, she has had to deal with hardship that most of us could not imagine. She lost her mother at a young age, which led to her dropping out of school to take on the domestic duties. Due to her father’s limited income, she not only had to give up her education but also had to face the terrible prospect of an early marriage. This young girl had lost her mother, her childhood, and her education – but she did not give up. Anju showed tremendous strength and resilience when she sought help from a teacher on how she could get back in school, and our foundation is honored to have her as a scholar.

Even now, despite all the hardship and the challenges, Anju and her family are grateful to be alive and together. Rukmini Foundation along with our partner organizations will work tirelessly to ensure that Anju and her family, as well as any others who have been left homeless due to the earthquake will have adequate shelter and the basic necessities to go on surviving. This earthquake has destroyed homes, building, monuments, and even damaged mountains, but has not been able to shake the survivor mentality in Anju.


To support our scholars like Anju, you can give to: Rukmini Foundation Earthquake Relief Fund

The money you donate will go towards providing families like Anju’s with the goods they need to survive. Anju’s family received a pack of relief good which contained essential items such as foam mattress, food, water, glucose water, water cleaning solution, hygiene items, and utensils that should sustain them for a month. We are also looking into temporary residence options so that Anju and her family do not have to suffer from the elements as monsoon season approaches.


About Priti Bhattarai

With a Masters from London School of Economics in NGOs and Development, along with courses in Social Policy and Gender and Development, Priti brings with her the experience of both policy and development. She was born in Nepal, brought up in Japan, and has lived in England for eight years. Before moving to the United States, she went back to Nepal and worked on issues concerning Education for All and Gender Equality. Her work entailed creating awareness amongst the communities in rural Nepal on issues concerning both health and education, whilst striving for change in the country’s education policy. She recently moved to the Untied States and has become part of the Rukmini Foundation. With her previous experience working in Nepal, she has a great understanding of Rukmini Foundation’s mission and vision and will chair the Nepal Team Committee to work closely with our team on the ground to ensure progress, productivity and help forge new relationship with other entities in Nepal.
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