Zoals overal ter wereld, is ook Nepal in de greep van COVID19. Sinds 24 maart, toen de overheid een lockdown instelde om de verspreiding van COVID19 tegen te gaan, zijn alle scholen gesloten. De studenten van EFF die toegang krijgen tot onderwijs via het studiebeurzen-programma, zijn thuis. De sociale werkers van EFF zijn in voortdurend contact met de kinderen en hun familie. De afgelopen maanden werden verschillende families geholpen met voedselpakketten en kinderen ontvingen lessenpakketten. Over deze hulp-projecten kunt u meer informatie vinden op onze website en facebook-pagina.
EFF hielp waar nodig, ook voor medische bijstand, betalen van huur (een ex-student met zijn zieke moeder en jongere zus werd bijna uit zijn kamer gezet omdat hij zijn huur niet kon betalen) en voor de reiskosten van Suraj, voormalig student van EFF. Suraj kwam vanuit India terug naar Nepal nadat ook daar een lockdown van start ging en hij niet langer werk en een inkomen had. Om ervoor te zorgen dat Suraj op een veilige manier terug thuis naar zijn moeder en jongere zus kon, deed EFF een bijdrage voor de reiskosten en kosten onderweg.
Hier het verhaal van Suraj, die na een lang avontuur, veilig terug in zijn dorp is bij zijn moeder en jongere zus.
(deze “case study” is geschreven door Gautam, project coördinator EFF)
“Suraj’s journey from Siliguri, India, to Nepal during lockdown
Suraj KC, ex-student from EFF, decided not to continue his education in 2018. He was an average student but he showed more interest in working and helping his mother with household chores, including field work, than going to school. His mother was hard working and trying hard to make a living by rearing goats and working on their fields in their home village in Sindhupalchok. Unfortunately, she fell seriously sick and Suraj became the man of the house, responsible for all the work and providing in income for his younger sister and older mother (his father left the family when he was very young). After admission in the hospital and an operation, his mother is doing better now but not able to do the hard work in the village.
Suraj decided to stay home and try to provide for his family. He was working as day labourer in the village on fields and as a mason. About one year ago, Suraj came to Kathmandu and worked in a liquor shop but his earning was not enough for living and sending money home to his mother and sister. A friend of him suggested to go to Siliguri, India, to work in a garment factory and he left Nepal in January 2020. He was learning and adjusting to his work but after the lockdown in India was imposed, the business where Suraj was working, closed down for infinite time. He managed to survive with his savings for two months but then he ran out of money. His only option was to come back to Nepal and this was the beginning of an adventurous journey as he was not allowed to travel legally as there was a lockdown in Nepal too and the borders were closed.
After contacting EFF, he was provided with some support through bank transfer for his journey back home. With the received money, he managed to travel to the border of Nepal where he was stuck in Pani Tanki (India) for two days in a school building. He tried to enter Nepal on the 3rd day but he was not allowed to enter. He spent 1 night sleeping under the Mechi Bridge, at the border of Nepal and India. Only on the 4th day, he was allowed entrance in Nepal and kept in quarantine in Birtamod, Jhapa, in one of the schools reserved for migrants coming from India for 5 days. Along with some other persons, they reserved a small bus to travel further to Kathmandu but after reaching Kathmandu Valley, they were denied entrance once again. They spent the night in the microbus.
The Government of Nepal arranged to transfer all passengers from the microbus to a quarantine camp in Kirtipur where he spent another 18 days. He got food from a local club in Kirtipur. After his test for COVID19 came back negative, he was finally allowed to go home but with Nepal still in lockdown, hardly any vehicles could be found so the only option was to walk. He managed to get to his older sister’s room in Gokarna, on the edge of Kathmandu, but knowing that he came from India, the community and house owner didn’t allow him to stay with his sister. He had no any option than to stay in a local hotel before continuing his journey his home village in Sindhupalchowk, around 90 kms from Kathmandu. He stayed in the hotel for 6 days in Gokarna, trying to manage a vehicle that could take him further home. There were no possibilities to arrange any transportation so finally, he decided to walk to his home. Before leaving the hotel, EFF supported him to pay his bills at the hotel. After clearing his bills, he was allowed to leave and Suraj started his walk towards Sindhupalchok. He walked to Banepa, Kavre on the 1st day. On the2nd day, luckily he got a lift on a truck to travel to Dolalghat, about 60 kms from Kathmandu, then he walked further 30 km to reach his home.
After a long and arduous journey, Suraj reached home where he was welcomed by his mother and younger sister. He started now working again in the village on the rice fields as a day labourer (currently the rice planting season is ongoing).”
(foto's: aan de grens met India, de Mechi Brug, buiten overnachten met andere reizigers - foto's van Suraj)
Wij danken allen die hebben bijgedragen aan de COVID19 respons die EFF biedt aan studenten en kwetsbare families in deze moeilijke tijd.
Wilt u een bijdrage doen om Nepal te helpen in deze moeilijke tijden?
IBAN: NL16TRIO 02546 61610