Although the virus has been relatively contained in Nepal compared to other parts of the world, we heard about dire social and economic consequences of the lockdown which will affect communities for weeks, months and years to come. For example, much of Nepal’s food and medical supplies are sourced from neighboring countries like India and China, and with borders closed, food is in short supply and prices have skyrocketed.
We also heard about marginalized groups — primarily children, people living in extreme poverty, remote communities, daily wage laborers, and people with disabilities or special needs — that are being impacted in ways much more severe and life-threatening than more privileged groups. For example, PHASE found that people with disabilities in Nepal are at especially high risk of starvation, in urgent need of medical supplies and unable to access government support. Therefore, while continuing essential services and facing new barriers each day, the PHASE team quickly launched a brand new program to support people with disabilities to access their basic needs. Incredibly, the program is already up and running and has reached more than 75 high-risk people to date.
“I just wanted to say that when we were talking about three weeks ago about the fact that these people with severe disabilities that we’ve been in touch with in Kathmandu… are all running out of food and they can’t access health supplies, we were sort of stumbling around thinking where do actually fund this additional activity which isn’t in any of PHASE’s project budgets — and the fact that GoPhil actually emailed exactly at that time to say, ‘We are looking at getting an emergency response fund and do you have any projects?’ was just such perfect timing and… it’s amazing that you and your donors have come to this point and helped when actually everybody’s country seems to be currently struggling, worse than Nepal in some ways. So I just want to say thank you.”
– Gerda Pohl, PHASE Nepal
Even when the lockdown finally ends and people are able to return to work, the challenges will continue. For example, Child Rescue Nepal anticipates that rates of child trafficking and child labor will increase significantly, as more families will find themselves in desperate financial situations and businesses will be recruiting cheap labor. Therefore, amidst all the ongoing difficulties, the CRN team is looking ahead and preparing to tackle more child rescues than ever before. In turn, their Transit Home, supported in large part by the GoPhil community, must be prepared to support, rehabilitate and reintegrate more rescued children.