Field Report By: Arya Aryal
Post By: Priti Bhattarai

“We cannot stop natural disasters but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness.” – Petra Nemcova, Founder of Happy Hearts Fund

The events of April 25th was absolutely terrifying. The loss of control, the feeling that everything in existence may come to a sudden end was petrifying. But human reaction to such events and how one behaves when the rules of civility and society are obliterated was scarier. Everyone was alarmed but no one knew what to do. For a better tomorrow, Rukmini Foundation decided to educate people on such circumstances to avoid chaos and help one another. We strongly believe that we must have humanity and we must not allow anything to reduce it. Focusing on such cases and real life incidents, Rukmini Foundation started to help people and youths by providing them with basic training regarding Disaster Preparedness.

M. Dipesh and Ms. Isnikdha recalling GO BAG

Mr. Dipesh Shreshta (on the right) and Ms. Isnikdha Bhandari (left) talk to the class about having a ”GO BAG” with essential items handy in preparation for future disasters

Mr. Dipesh Shrestha, an instructor of Red Cross Nepal, who has 13 years of experience in saving and helping people during crisis was invited to hold a workshop with the students of Shikharapur Community School on Disaster Preparedness techniques. He, along with Crisis Situation Psychologist Ms. Isnikdha Bhandari, joined the community program to enlighten the students about simple life saving practices during disasters or accidents. Students from class 8, 9 and 10 were trained to respond under catastrophe with the help of available resources. What came as a pleasant surprise during the training session was the immense eagerness the students showed to learn. “I was really confused what to do during earthquake. Either to move outside or hide under the table,” our scholar Deepika Balami said. “However, after this program, I have come to know that the most important thing is to stay safe.”

Class 10 students learn to make a strecher

Mr. Dipesh Shreshta (center with Red Cross Jacket) teaches students how to make a stretcher with readily available materials such as bamboo poles and big pieces of cloth

Boys learn to carry an injured person to

Students learn how to carry a person on a makeshift stretcher made of bamboo poles and cloth.

With the leadership quality of the Mr. Shreshta and his ability to truly engage with the students, the session was an immense success.  “The main idea of why we should have disaster Preparedness is to re-examine what we have done so far, what mistakes we have made and how can we improve it” – Dipesh Shrestha explained. His motivational training commanded full attention from all the participants and made for a very enthusiastic learning environment. Students expressed how happy they were through their positive participation during the program. Not only students but the teachers also engaged in the program.

RF Scholar Deepika volunteers to play as victim

RF scholar Deepika Balami  (center) expresses her enthusiasm during the program by actively participating and volunteering during demonstrations.

The program started with a general orientation about the disaster that struck in Nepal and how badly it affected the lives of people. Mr. Dipesh and Ms. Isnikdha gave a brief overview of first aid techniques and its importance during emergency situation. To ensure staff and students were prepared for an Earthquake or any other crisis, they demonstrated the “GO BAG” – a bag that contains all necessary items in time of an emergency. This training was mainly focused on School Crisis Situation. Teachers and other staff were given training on providing support, students were encouraged to talk about disaster- related events, student’s capacity and peer support was strengthened, and children’s resilience was emphasized throughout this event. This training has tightened up the slack, toughened the body and polished the spirit. This program is being planned in other 4 associated schools of Pharping. Our purpose of being more prepared in the present so that we can do something about it in the future now has finally come into action with a positive feedback.

Watch the video of the program:

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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