Nepal is one of the poorest economies in the world and around 20% of Nepalese continue to languish in poverty. The ongoing pandemic has fueled this crisis further and crippled the economy and livelihood of many. Since the government doesn’t have the ability to address all present needs of the people, civil society organizations and personalities are stepping in to address the existing problems of society.
After facing four months of lockdown since March 2020, things had begun normalize last summer. However, the second wave of the pandemic has halted daily activities of the Nepalese people once again and forced everyone to stay at home. The second wave has been even worse, having doubled the causalities within just a month. Many lost their family members, friends and loved ones, a loss that cannot be recovered.
Realizing the severity of the pandemic, local governments started imposing lockdown to arrest the spread. But situation quickly spiraled out of control in a very short period of time and shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, ventilators and other necessary stuffs became widespread.
As an example: the entire Bikalpa family were also confined to their respective homes. There wasn’t much to do besides planning for the future and brainstorming for an alternative approach to organize activities. However, we have been helping the community by utilizing our vast database of participants and partners and arranging for blood donations to ease the situation.
Amidst the pandemic on May 25, I got a message from my childhood friend and classmate, Tripti Regmi who currently resides in the US. She inquired about the situation here and if our organization was conducting any humanitarian relief work during this crisis. I replied “Not much.” She immediately asked if she could send a couple hundred dollars to support the people in this crisis, and wanted us to make the most of it.
We discussed this offer within our team and decided to support the disabled, individuals making their living in the streets, and other underprivileged groups. Tripti and her friend Robert, immediately wired $350 to us and we began identifying such vulnerable individuals and families, and soon enough made a list of purchase items. We wrote about Tripti and her friend’s generosity on social media.
A day later, we received another message from Kusum Poudel, a resident in Australia, requesting us to accept a similar contribution to support the cause we had just started. Soon, Umesh Bhandari and Saroj Poudel from Biratnagar also offered financial support. We started getting inquiries and commitment to support our activities from our well-wishers. Tosita Gurung, Nabin Ghale, and Riddi Kariki all contributed as well.
We purchased enough provisions to support 75 households for more than a week. We also supported food relief to the orphanage center, retirement homes, and the individuals who were running charity activities in Biratnagar. Obviously, this was not a one-person job and apart from me our team included Suman Khaling, Saroj Poudel, Punam Giri, Alina Rai, Bishal Rai, and Prakriti Thapaliya who were involved in the distribution of the relief support from Bikalpa’s office.
We understand that it is not a substantial project. But we are making a difference for those 50 families and few individuals, who can survive for at least a week and wouldn’t need to go to bed hungry during these hard times.
We heartily thank all the supporters who began this chain of support, and kept on extending it to make it possible to reach out to those 75 families and few social institutions. Also, our sincere thanks to all our volunteers and well-wishers for making this possible. Without your generosity and kindness, none of these would have been possible.
Note: With the generous support of our well-wishers, we were also able to support the needy people in first phase of the lockdown in 2020.