Over 80 young volunteers from SOS Children’s Villages programmes in Nepal were among the first responders who stepped up to care for children and families injured and displaced by the earthquakes. Two of those volunteers, Rinku Rawal (15) and Indira Lama (16), describe what they saw.
Rinku Rawal, 15: “April 25, is a date I cannot forget in my life. A severe earthquake hit Nepal killing and injuring thousands. SOS Children’s Village Kavre, where I live, organised an emergency relief camp at Dhulikhel, about eight kilometres from the village, and I am volunteering in that camp.
I spoke to many victims, both children and adults. Among them was a woman from Sindhupalchowk. She was in critical condition, her body was covered with wounds and her legs were fractured. The army helicopter rescued and brought her to the hospital; from the hospital she came to the relief camp.
The quake took her entire family away; she was the only survivor. She would talk about her daughters and cry relentlessly. I felt so helpless.
Talking to her and other victims I learnt that we have to be strong during crisis. I see people in miserable situations. They have lost their property and families, but they are learning to live again at this camp.
Now, I know that it is not like in SOS where all things are available. Unlike these people, we don’t have to struggle to eat and live. We have mama to take care of our needs and I feel very lucky to be part of an SOS family.”
Indira Lama, 16: “On April 25 an earthquake shook our home. I was afraid, but my mom and family were there to support and care. Later I found that many people were dead and many houses were destroyed. I wanted to do something for these people.
Youth volunteer plays with a child at an SOS Child Friendly Space. Photographer: Zishaan Akbar Latif
When the project director informed us that we were organising a camp to provide relief for quake victims, I decided to volunteer. I was thankful to God that I had an opportunity to help the injured ones.
In the camp I was shocked to see so many injured people. They were in miserable condition. Their clothes were torn and their bodies were covered with blood. There are many emotional stories.
We have been helping in the camp for days now. People have started smiling. I feel good to see that my volunteer work is bringing smiles back to their faces.”
The earthquakes in Nepal have killed over 7,000, and injured many more. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and possessions. Because SOS Children’s Villages has been working in Nepal for over 40 years, and with seven SOS villages within 80 km of the Kathmandu Valley earthquake, SOS co-workers and over 80 young people from our programmes were among the first to begin volunteer relief work.
Young volunteers from SOS Children's Villages programmes have been helping in the SOS Child Care Spaces, leading the children in recreational activities. They have also been helping to cook and clean.
Please help the children!
SOS Children's Villages is helping Nepali families and children recover from the earthquakes and rebuild their lives, with shelter and care for unaccompanied children; food, clothing and household essentials; and support for adults in re-establishing livelihoods and family homes. Please join us in helping them.