SOS Children's Village Dhangadhi – January 8 2021 Ray of Hope Nineteen-year-old Ram from Kailali, a far western part of Nepal, was studying in class XI when the government announced the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in 2021. His life was normal except his school was closed. During this time, Ram started to help his mother in farming. His family has a small plot of land where they grow seasonal crops. This is the only source of income for his family. "After the death of my father a few years ago, my mother worked as a seasonal labourer in the farm. The income from daily wage labour and crops that we grew was not sufficient for us to feed the family of seven members," shared Ram. During the lockdown, all the family members were at home with no work. They finished the little food they had in stock. Soon, Ram’s mother faced difficulties in feeding her five children. “We struggled to meet our basic needs. Therefore, I decided to opt for foreign employment, dreaming of a better opportunity,” added Ram. In the meantime, SOS Children’s Village Dhangadhi, through a Family Strengthening Programme, started providing livelihood support under the COVID-19 Response Programme. The programme aimed to uplift the lives of the people affected by COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown to ensure that the basic needs of the children and families are fulfilled. With the support received, Ram established a stationery shop based on his interest. “I was planning to go abroad, but now, I hope to work in my own country,” says Ram. He is grateful for the support he has been receiving from SOS Children’s Village Dhangadhi. His three younger brothers and one younger sister are pursuing their education with the help of SOS Children’s Village Dhangadhi. “This is a great start for my life. I have been contacting a few schools to supply educational materials. I hope this will be a pathway to a brighter future. I am confident to take the responsibilities of my family and help my siblings in pursuing their dreams,” said Ram.