Pooling resources and combining fundraising efforts to get the job done in Nepal

Written by Philip Holmes on Wednesday 23rd June 2021

 

A donor's comment

Back in 2019, following a grant application to a major Foundation in the UK, the Foundation's Chairman commented that we should be seeking to collaborate more with other charities as he had recently received a similar application from another small charity working in Nepal. It seemed to him that all chasing the same pound and that there surely had to be scope for synergy and avoidance of duplication of effort. He was, of course, quite right and I pointed out to him that we were already doing that in respect of some of our project activities. 

This need for networking and collaboration came even more sharply into focus with the impact of COVID on our fundraising activities and the dramatic drop in income that all charities have experienced. This has been somewhat of a "double whammy" where, although income has dropped because of COVID, the need for expenditure in Nepal has increased. This is because of reductions in foreign aid (including from the UK government), major charities cutting back and the requirement to provide additional relief support because of climate change and COVID.

The challenge from the Delta Variant

As I have previously reported, Nepal has been devastated by the COVID Delta variant that crossed the open border so readily from India, often brought back by returning Nepalese migrant workers who had lost their jobs. In fact, there has been a particularly infectious mutation of the variant - AY.1 or "Delta Plus" - that has been spreading very rapidly, including into Europe as a so-called "Nepal variant". The Nepal authorities responded to the surge in cases with another strict national lockdown. 

Pipal Tree joined forces with two other UK registered charities to take up the challenge of providing relief to our operational area, this being the eight Districts of Province 2 in southeast Nepal. These charities are our operational partner, Our Sansar, and a new funding partner, Guy's Trust. The challenge was daunting not only because of the distances involved (during a lockdown!). For unlike this time last year, the Nepal authorities - nationally, provincially and locally - were making no provision for food relief. And even if they had, many people would not have qualified for relief because of being landless or lacking citizenship. We had to get to these people to relieve hunger, save lives and provide hope for the future.

Our joint fundraising appeals, underpinned by matching pledges made through The Big Give, have allowed our three charities to raise a grand total of £42,000 to send to Nepal. It turned out that this was more or less what our implementing partners in Nepal, the NGO's Mithila Wildlife Trust and Our Sansar' eponymous NGO, estimated as being their requirement to address the genuine need in the Province. 

Summary of relief provided

The relief work is nearing an end now. Not because COVID has gone away - far from it - but because the arrival of the monsoon has brought with it the opportunity for people to earn some money through rice planting and other agricultural activities. The relief has consisted of delivering a package to a household containing the following:

  • Rice: 20 kg
  • Lentils: 5 kg
  • Wheat Flour: 5kg
  • Salt: 1 Kg
  • Oil: 2 Ltr.
  • Soybean: 0.5Kg
  • Soap: 4 pcs.
  • Washing Bar: 2 Pcs.

Here is a summary of what has been achieved so far by way of food relief in the eight Districts of Province 2 (as at today, 23rd June):

DistrictHouseholds supportedHouseholds awaiting supportTotal
Parsa469180649
Bara2490249
Rautahat2000200
Sarlahi28107135
Mahotarri16177193
Dhanusha8080808
Siraha44190234
Saptari17104121
Total households1,8317582,589

This equates to 14,860 men, women and children, many helped by more than one visit. A further £428 has been spent on PPE and other items for health care and social workers.

Case studies

Here is an idea of the human impact on an individual basis:

Mr Mahato

 

 

Case study 1  - Mr Dip Narayan Mahato

Mr Mahato had been running a small village shop that had to close because of the lockdown. This left his family (a wife and two daughters) with no income. Mithila Wildlife Trust had supported the family during lockdown a year ago when a home visit revealed that they were living only on potatoes, too proud to ask for help from neighbours. This year, the team called with him during lockdown to see how he was getting along to find the family once again in a terrible state. They cried for 15 minutes leaving the field staff lost for words. A delivery of food has been enough to tide the family over until "business as usual" can resume.

 

 

The Karori family receiving support

Case study 2 - Mr Kanhaiya Karori

Mr Karori belongs to an "untouchable" community that is known as Karori in Nepal and Nat in India. These people earn a living by collecting wild honey and from selling organic dyes. They are peripatetic, erecting temporary shelters wherever they go and remaining in a village until business dries up. Since the Karori have no fixed abodes, they don't qualify for citizenship - a study from 2015 found that only two Karori in the whole of Nepal had citizenship certificates. And, without citizenships, they don't qualify for any government services or support. 

At lockdown, Kanhaiya' hand-to-mouth existence left his family in a precarious position. They had nothing in store and he and his wife and two children resorted to begging. But the local people were scared of catching COVID and gave them nothing, hoping that they would move away. Eventually, he received one week's worth of support from the local Ward President, who asked if Mithila Wildlife Trust could take over the support. Which they did, through us, saving this vulnerable family from starvation and from coming to any harm.  

 

 

Dev Narayan Mandal, Founder of Mithila Wildlife Trust, assessing the Mahara family.

Case study 3 - Mrs Sanechari Mahara

Mrs Sanechari Mahara lives on public land with her four sons and three daughters. Her husband had been a migrant worker in the Punjab but he lost his work during lockdown and had to return home. Without an income, the whole family had to resort to begging. Their plight came to the attention of the Mithila Wildlife Trust community support teacher who made a home visit. We responded by providing food according to their needs and arranged for four of the seven children, who were school-age, to attend our community learning centre for non-formal education. Food support to the family has continued during lockdown and hopefully the children now have an entry point to the formal education process.

 

 

 

 

 

Sleeping by the roadside in Janakpur

Case study 4 - A street family

A family of four - two adults and two small children - has been living on the streets of Janakpur. They stay in a tarpaulin temporary shelter, have no land or documents to verify their identities. They had been earning their income from collecting and re-selling plastic bottles from drains and dumps. This all ended with lockdown and, intimidated by the police who were enforcing the restrictions of movement, they had to remain by their shelter and starve.

A joint Mithila Wildlife Trust/Our Sansar team met with them and arranged for a food consignment to be delivered. They left their contact details with nearby families to ensure that they would be advised if the couple needed further help after the first food consignment ran out.

Case study 5 - A man in chains

The family's tarpaulin shelter

The relief team was profoundly shaken during a routine visit to a village to find a 50-year old man chained to a post inside a mud hut. He was totally naked and he had been kept like that for five years, the floor his toilet. This is how people with mental health problems can be treated in rural areas. Bizarrely, he had a wife and child but they had been incapable of managing his condition The team had him released immediately and he has since been cared for at a local ashram, receiving medication and physiotherapy to help him walk again. We have also managed to find him a wheelchair.

Note:   We are not publishing images as they are just too harrowing to share.

Conclusion

Our relief work has been praised widely by social workers and local politicians, all too aware that no other food relief provision was made by the Nepal authorities or by any other relief organisation. This at a time when in one of our communities around 50% of households had COVID positive cases and were forbidden to visit stores. The central Nepal government's Social Welfare Council has asked to meet with me and Julia Krepska, the Founder of Our Sansar, when we next visit Nepal to discuss future collaborations.

 

 

 

 


 

Share this page:

Similar Articles

The 2021 Big Give Christmas Challenge
The 2021 Big Give Christmas Challenge

Pipal Tree is once again taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge - your opportunity to double or even quadruple the value of your gift.

18 Jul 2021

Ready, steady, Offa we go.....
Ready, steady, Offa we go.....

My personal summer challenge to raise funds for Lily's Leaves in Nepal

18 Jun 2021

The summer 2021 Big Give appeal for Nepal
The summer 2021 Big Give appeal for Nepal

Pipal Tree offers you a chance to donate to either Education or Women's Empowerment projects (or both!) in Nepal with the chance of your online donation doubling in value through matching pledges available in The Big Give.

24 May 2021

"Our Finest Year" - Pipal Tree releases its 2020 annual report and accounts
"Our Finest Year" - Pipal Tree releases its 2020 annual report and accounts

In spite of the operational restrictions and financial downturn that came with COVID, 2020 was in many respects Pipal Tree's "finest year".

23 May 2021

The Pipal Tree Big Give emergency appeal for COVID relief in Nepal
The Pipal Tree Big Give emergency appeal for COVID relief in Nepal

Today Pipal Tree launches a one-week Big Give emergency relief appeal in response to the COVID pandemic in Nepal

13 May 2021

Actress and Pipal Tree Ambassador Amrita Acharia appeals for gifts towards COVID emergency relief in Nepal
Actress and Pipal Tree Ambassador Amrita Acharia appeals for gifts towards COVID emergency relief in Nepal

The actress Amrita Acharia, who has Ukrainian-Nepalese roots, appeals for donations towards a Pipal Tree appeal for emergency COVID relief in Nepal. Through The Big Give, all online donations can automatically double in value.

12 May 2021

Reforestation in Nepal
Reforestation in Nepal

Pipal Tree is working in collaboration with the Gemma and Chris McGough Charitable Foundation, the Nepal Department of Forests and the Mithila Wildlife Trust to restore a community forest at Bhatighadi, Dhanusha District, southeast Nepal.

29 Apr 2021

Remembering Nepal in your will
Remembering Nepal in your will

When writing or updating your will, please remember Pipal Tree's work in Nepal that you can support as an enduring legacy.

28 Apr 2021

Supporting Lily's Leaves through The Big Give
Supporting Lily's Leaves through The Big Give

We are inviting your support through The Big Give to Lily's Leaves, our partner social enterprise in Nepal. A Kathmandu project, this wonderful new initiative is already making a difference to the lives of vulnerable young women - female empowerment in action!

22 Apr 2021

From Tragedy to Trustee
From Tragedy to Trustee

Teacher and teacher-trainer Caroline Milne joined our Board of Trustees in October 2020. She brings a wealth of experience within the education sector to the table, but also a compassion and commitment that has been forged and focussed through a tragedy in her own life.

18 Mar 2021

The Virgin London Marathon in the time of COVID
The Virgin London Marathon in the time of COVID

Pipal Tree's involvement in the 2021 London Marathon will be different for two major reasons.

10 Mar 2021

A three-legged stool
A three-legged stool

Our ambitious new school project in south Nepal blends three of our core interests into one harmonious plan

6 Mar 2021

Nepal's Guernica
Nepal's Guernica

2021 is a critical year for the planet. U.S. Climate Envoy, John Kerry, has described November's COP26 climate conference as our last chance to take action and save the planet. As a contribution to the national and global discussion, Pipal Tree will launch a high profile and ambitious urban reforestation project in Nepal to improve the environment, educate and raise awareness about the disaster that is already upon us. Our "Nepal's Guernica" project that has a direct link to Picasso.

11 Feb 2021

Support to a Madrasa
Support to a Madrasa

I was very pleased to receive these pictures this morning of our school extension project underway, as implemented by our local partner NGO, the Mithila Wildlife Trust.

8 Feb 2021