In this scenario, the health safety and wellbeing of the children, young people, caregivers and coworkers, and people from our FS programs has remained our highest priority. A month before the government announced lockdown, we had restricted access to the Children’s Villages except in case of emergencies. SOS families have stockpiled food and all the daily essentials are delivered in the designated areas. They are equipped with Emergency Management Kits that include oxygen, PPE kits, and sanitizers. Likewise, we also have dedicated residential village nurses.
Despite following health practices and safety measures, SOS Children’s Villages Nepal could not completely prevent the entry of coronavirus into our Children’s Villages. At the moment, there are a total of 234 COVID-19 cases. Out of the total, 204 have recovered and 30 are still in isolation receiving treatment. This includes 9 children, 7 young people, 1 mothers/caregivers, and 13 coworkers. Wherever possible, the association tried to ensure people receive the vaccination. As of May 16, 28 young people, 70 mothers, 123 coworkers, 62 teachers, and 30 other members of staff and retired SOS mothers and coworkers have been vaccinated.
One of the greatest worries is that families of the family strengthening programme have been adversely affected by the lockdown and its intensity is bigger than in the first wave of coronavirus. Many caregivers who were working as daily wage laborers have lost their jobs. They are facing difficulties to manage meals for their children; they are waiting to receive support from the government and other organizations. Many care leavers who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic are turning to us for their survival. SOS CV Nepal is working on finding ways to support these families and young people.
“After almost 10 months of full and partial closure in 2020, we hoped that life would be moving towards normalcy. When our young people and caregivers were heading towards helping themselves, the second wave of coronavirus pushed them back and made them more vulnerable than last year. In 2020, we were able to keep our children and young people safe from the effects of the virus; there were fewer than 10 cases. As the second wave struck the country with more transmissible variants, some children, young people, SOS mothers, and co-workers have been infected with the virus. It has been a greater challenge for SOS Children’s Villages Nepal,” says Mr. Ishwori Prasad Sharma, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Nepal.
Mr. Sharma further adds, “Loss of livelihood, has brought unprecedented challenges in the lives of the care leavers (integrated youths) and many families in the community. Currently, some care leavers have been receiving support but more and more are turning to us for help. Likewise, many FS families who worked as daily wage laborers have been struggling to provide meals for their children and family members. Therefore, we appeal to friends and well-wishers of our organization to provide humanitarian assistance to ensure that children and young people continue receiving care, protection, and support to get through this hard time.”