Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we are doing our best to alleviate the suffering of our community by ensuring that everyone has enough to eat and drink, sanitation and PPD supplies, and access to healthcare.
To our dear friends and supporters,
No matter where in the world you are reading this, your life has, in some way, been impacted by Covid19. The same is true for us here in Nepal.
Unfortunately, right now in Nepal, there is only one center where people can be tested for COVID19, so while there is “only one confirmed case” in Nepal, it has likely already spread rapidly throughout the country. As of now, we have 4 children at Happy Kids Center reporting high fevers who cannot access tests.
With this in mind, tomorrow, March 21, 2020 Happy Kids Center, for the first time since our founding in April 2015, will be closing our doors. This is only a temporary action but given the current circumstances, we are uncertain of when we will be able to reopen normally.
However, we are determined to continue to support our Happy Kids and their families amidst this very, very scary time. Today, we hosted a parent meeting where we provided plans for our new procedures, advise on how best to social distance and provided information on the signs and symptoms of Covid19.
We recognize that there are many, many people around the world who are in need at this time. I know myself and many others are struggling with feelings of frustration at our own helplessness. With this in mind, we ask you to consider giving what you can to support Happy Kids Center. This small action from your own home will have a big impact in our community.
Developing countries like Nepal, and those living in dense urban poverty like our Happy Kids, are among the most vulnerable in the world. Even the smallest donation can go a long way in changing the course of the events that will transpire over the next several months as Covid19 spreads in Nepal.
Here’s how we will continue to support our community amidst the Covid19 pandemic.
Schools officially close this week but despite this Happy Kids Center will continue to provide daily lunches to all of our Happy Kids as well as “after school” nutritious snacks in the afternoon. We will also continue to provide meals for the entire community on a weekly basis.
The food will be prepared by the family of Chadani Dyola, our in-country manager. To avoid spreading the virus, one representative from each family will come to the door of the HKC office, which is fortuitously located on the ground floor of Chadani’s home. The representative will then bring the food back to their homes where their families will eat, clean their plates thoroughly with soap we will provide and return the next day.
We will be purchasing as much dry, non-perishable foods as possible without limiting the access for the rest of the community. Where possible, and based on the donations we receive here, we will do our best to provide rice and cooking gas to families in need.
Fortunately, we have a partnership with Siddhi Memorial Women and Children’s Hospital in Bhaktapur. However, as is the case around the world, hospitals are understaffed and overworked and at this time we cannot expect the special treatment we typically receive from Siddhi Memorial.
When we launched this partnership we felt that we no longer needed to fundraise for our health program to the same degree we had in the past. We, therefore, diverted our fundraising efforts to other programs int he last year. However, now more than ever, we need to bolster our health fund.
With the severe pollution in the city and many families living in homes infested with mold, respiratory issues are extremely common, putting our community at even greater risk. As of now, we are anticipating that we may need to support many hospitalized children and parents.
Our local team at Happy Kids Center is the heart and soul of the organization. Yesterday, I spoke with Chadani Dyola (HKC In-Country Manager) on the phone and asked her if she and her family would be able to continue to cook meals and lead the community in this time of turmoil. Unsurprisingly, she and her family were way ahead of me and had already begun preparing for the worst and developing plans for how they could continue to support our Happy Kids.
As of now Chadani and her family have moved all of HKC’s operations into their own home. They will be feeding the entire community from their own doors; braving the dangers of shopping in public to ensure everyone has enough to eat. This is emblematic of our team’s dedication to our mission and the love they have for our Happy Kids.
All of our paid employees are local to the community that we serve. They come from the same backgrounds as our Happy Kids and HKC is their primary source of income. Without this salary, they may not be able to feed their families. It is of the utmost importance to us that we are able to continue to support our team through these scary times.
While companies around the United States are struggling to pay employees who cannot work, this goal is becoming less and less tenable. However, salaries in Nepal are low, as is the cost of living. We pay less than $500 in salaries out to our employees across all of our programs each month.
As we sit in our homes and reflect on the feeling that the world spiraling out of control, this is one small way you can make a tangible difference. As we all struggle to adjust to these trying times I ask you to consider lending your support to Happy Kids Center.
We appreciate your support in any way you can lend it.
Stay safe and healthy.
Ellen Carney and Nicole Heker
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