Nirmala (6, in blue) sits with her grandmother Bhagawati and sisters Jameli (7) and Maya (2 months).
Within seconds after the earthquake struck, 6-year-old Nirmala * was buried underneath the rubble of her collapsed home. Emergency workers in Nepal found her alive, curled up underneath her mother’s arm. She would survive with minor injuries. Her mother died instantly.
“Everything was good before, and then the earth took everything away,” said Nirmala’s grandmother, Bhagawati. “The children’s mother worked in the farm. She did everything…my daughter-in-law fulfilled all the family’s needs.”
Aid workers from SOS Children’s Villages (SOS) met Nirmala, her grandmother and her three siblings the day they were burying her mother. Her grandmother, Bhagawati, told SOS that she would raise her grandchildren and make sure they went to school. She also said that she needed help because neither she nor her son—Nirmala’s father—makes enough money to support the children.
Bhagawati has received money and other forms of support from the SOS Kinship Care Program. Her family is one of 1,000 at-risk families selected for the program, which is focused on providing Nepalese families with what they need to start rebuilding their lives.
“SOS has given me 6,000 rupees for the children. Because of that money, I have been able to live comfortably and buy milk for the children and it helps me raise them. Except for the baby, all of them go to school now,” Bhagawati said.
Nirmala (6, in pink) sits with other students in the temporary shed in which her school is running in Chautara, Sindhupalchowk, Nepal.
The Nepalese district of Sindhupalchowk, where Nirmala and her family live, was one of the hardest hit by the earthquake. More than 63,000 homes—roughly 90 percent of all homes in Sindhupalchowk—were destroyed. Nearly 40 percent of the 8,856 people who died in the earthquake came from Sindhupalchowk.
Since the earthquake struck on April 25, SOS has reached 42,000 vulnerable Nepalese children in 12 of the hardest hit districts in Nepal, including Sindhupalchowk. With an extensive presence in Nepal before the earthquake hit—10 SOS Villages, seven schools and nine community centers that service more than 2,500 at-risk families—SOS has been able to have a meaningful impact on children and families across the country.
Actively supporting children and families in Nepal for the last 40 years, SOS will continue helping vulnerable Nepalese families recover for from the earthquake.
*Name changed to protect the privacy of the child.
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