The major earthquake and the numerous aftershocks that rocked Nepal have had an enormously adverse effect on its people. The aftershock of 7.3 that shook Nepal, with its epicenter near Solukhumbu on 12th May, has destroyed many households, 225 schools, and other infrastructure in that region.
In Solukhumbu, people are mainly engaged as farmers and part-time porters. The earthquake has destroyed almost all homes, forcing them to live in tarps or sheds. Farming doesn’t add much to the living of a family, as the land they own is not very productive and production is not sufficient even for 6 months of living. However, the males who were working as porters for tourists made a decent living, allowing them to spend on education, proper food, and living expenses.
Today, after the quakes and the continuing aftershocks, tourism is being hugely affected and has decreased significantly; it follows that the porters’ livelihood has as well, and many have been jobless for many months now. They are in a dilemma as how to build their homes again, how to feed all the family members, and what sacrifices must be made in order to survive.
In this difficult situation, many are traumatized, including quake-affected children who are on the verge of dropping out of school. Children are being asked to help at home or on the farm since their lives have become solely about fulfilling the most basic survival needs. Since the whole focus of family, government, and NGOs has shifted towards rebuilding schools, homes, or other damaged infrastructures, this has led to negligence in dealing with children’s schooling.
Post Earthquake Effects on Children’s Welfare
The post-quake situation has raised questions over the continuity of children’s education and hence has increased post-quake vulnerabilities, such as abuse, trafficking, forced labor, early marriage, and permanent leave from school. Children are not attending schools since they need to help at home or on farms, and it is seriously affecting their studies. Apart from that, parents’ inclinations towards the necessity of their children’s education are diminishing, which is setting an undesirable and damaging precedent for the future.
Our action plan is to keep children in school to continuing their education: To support an child education program by providing monthly sponsorship $300 per child per year; this will cover his/her school exam and annual fees, educational materials, school uniforms, bags and shoes, and assure continuity in their education without a gap year.