Rays of Hope – August 12 2021 Rays of Hope “You could not imagine how devastated and scared I was, with a heavy debt on my head and two years’ daughter in my lap after the demise of my husband. I couldn’t think about life. My husband was the world and sole bread earner of our family,” shares 38 years Samjhana. Samjhana lives in Kathmandu with her three-year-old daughter in a rented single room. Her husband died due to Jaundice a year ago. He worked as a Chef in India for several years. “I happily lived with my husband in India for a few years. However, I returned Nepal after the birth of my daughter. My husband used to visit us frequently. Unfortunately, he suffered from Jaundice. We used all our savings and took loan from relatives for his treatment. However, despite making all the possible efforts, he left us forever,” says Samjhana. After the death of her husband, the future of Samjhana and her child was in limbo. She had no savings and property. She didn’t have any livelihood skills either. “I had a pair of gold earnings, which I sold to buy rice and lentils. We managed to survive for almost three months with the money. In the meantime, I also started to work as a daily wage laborer. However, it was tough to find domestic work as people were reluctant to provide any work in a fear of coronavirus transmission,” remembers Samjhana. Samjhana further adds, “I was struggling to arrange a daily meal for my daughter. Luckily, one of my relatives knew about SOS Children’s Villages and suggested me to contact them. Now, my daughter is in Nursery and receiving stationeries and school fees from SOS Children’s Village. In addition to this, I also received support to start my livelihood as a street vendor. I started selling “Chatpate” (crispy spicy puffed rice) most common and popular street snacks along with other fast food in a pushcart. This somehow eased my crisis. I ran this for almost four months.” Samjhana received livelihood support to start her business from SOS Children’s Village Sanothimi through Family Strengthening Programme (FS). Similarly, her daughter has been receiving educational support from this academic session. However, after the Government of Nepal on 29th April, 2021 announced the lockdown to break the chain of Coronavirus transmission as new infection continues to rise alarmingly. This adversely affected Samjhana as she lost her work. “The support that I received was an avenue towards independence and self-reliance. I could sense a glimmer of light to provide a better life for my daughter and pay the loan that I took for my husband’s treatment,” says Samjhana. Moreover, she adds, “The lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Coronavirus for almost two months halted my dream. My life was paused with no work and money. I felt like I had been cursed therefore I have to struggle to provide even basic things for my daughter. However, the support that I received from SOS Children’s Village Sanothimi during this pandemic helped me to provide nutritious food for my daughter. Few weeks back, as lockdown has been lifted, I have also started my business. I pray from my heart that this will end soon and life will come to normalcy.” Samjhana is one among 9352 beneficiaries of FS programme. FS programme is tailored as per the requirement of the most vulnerable families to prevent family breakdown and strengthen the capacity of the caregivers. Through the FS programme, we provide trainings, livelihood support, counselling to empower the caregivers so that children and young people receive quality care and support they need to reach their full potential.