Although an average of 15ºC (60ºF) during the winter doesn’t sound too cold to those of us in Northeastern United States, we wouldn’t be feeling the same way if our buildings were not heated indoors. Especially since temperatures drop to almost below freezing during the night, staying warm in Nepal during the winter is always a challenge. However, this year more than ever, the Nepalese are having a hard time because they are still recovering from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 2015. As many homes and structures have yet to be reconstructed, families are living in temporary bamboo houses or tents. These do not provide a lot of insulation and while trying to rebuild their lives from the natural disaster, they do not have a lot of extra spending money for warm clothes or blankets. The government has started to provide affected families with $100, but it is not enough. As a result, the elderly and children have become particularly vulnerable to sickness.
I have learned that the time following the initial shock and instant aid relief from a natural disaster can be as dangerous as the actual event. At this point, with the earthquake happening 9 months ago, the help from international organizations or local agencies has begun to dwindle. Nepal is no longer in the news with horrific earthquake images, so people abroad tend to forget there is still so much reconstruction to complete. A majority of the survivors still don’t have permanent homes or a normal way of life. Although short-term relief came, this is a vital moment for Nepal to reestablish itself. In my opinion, it’s important for the country to do this as unassisted as it can. If the country is continuously helped by international charities and aid, a dependence forms and prevents community members from initiating regrowth. This is one of the main reasons I am proud to be part of the Rukmini Foundation because the team in Nepal is run primarily by the local community members.
To protect the scholars, their families, and neighbors from suffering too much in this winter cold, Rukmini Foundation started the ‘Warm Winter Campaign’ and held two occasions of winter relief distribution. On November 5th, 2015, the head of the student selection committee, Mr. Kedar Nath Acharya (along with the chairman of Shikharapur CLC Mr. Shyam Bahadur K.C and respected guru Aama Jaya Aryal), distributed blankets, foam mattresses, and hygiene products to 18 families.
Head of student selection committee, Mr. Kedar Nath Acharya, hands over winter relief supplies.
Group photo of those who received blankets, foam mattresses, and hygiene products.
During winter, the students have expressed the challenge of concentrating on their work when they are experiencing extreme cold days in the classroom. The students also tend to be more susceptible to falling sick in the cold weather, ultimately hampering their studies.To tackle this challenge, in January 2016, Rukmini Foundation jackets were given to scholars as part of the ‘Warm Winter Campaign’ , along with some stationary for school.
Group picture of the Rukmini scholars wearing their new jacket with Program Manager Bandana Aryal (left)
Keeping our scholars and their families warm during this winter is important for their educational success, as well as their ability to be supportive citizens. Our scholars have expressed again and again that the Rukmini program has allowed growth in self-confidence and personal strength. We look forward to this continuing and reflecting within the community, despite the difficulties of winter.
Bimala, Manisha and Junu (left to right) show their new jackets and stationary
- ‘Warm Winter Campaign’ helps Community Face Harsh Winter - January 31, 2016
- Project Based Learning Brings Out Star Personalities - November 30, 2015
- Born Again with Self-Confidence - October 12, 2015
- Necessary Vocalization of Being More than Not Enough - October 7, 2015
- Jonisha’s Family Resolve - October 1, 2015