In April 2015 a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, striking hardest in the impoverished rural areas surrounding the capital of Kathmandu. The earthquake took the lives of thousands of people, destroyed homes, schools, hospitals, and entire villages. More than two years later, most rural villagers are still living in temporary shelters or Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, and few school and medical facilities have been rebuilt. Many rural children lost one or both of their parents, and have been forced into labor to help their remaining family survive. Without the opportunity for an education, these children face an almost certain life of hardship and poverty, and are immensely more vulnerable to being trafficked.
In 2015, HCC created the Earthquake Orphan Scholarship Program (EOSP), which encompasses the Dhading Children’s Initiative (DCI) and the Rural Education Empowerment Program (REEP). These programs provide children earthquake survivors with funding and a support network, allowing them to stay in school and receive an education. The programs aim to keep children with surviving family members, however if a child has lost both parents, they are enrolled in high-quality, vetted boarding schools.
The Dhading Children’s Initiative (DCI), which operates in the Dhading district, provides educational scholarships for day and boarding school fees and all related educational expenses, such as books, stationery and uniforms. DCI works closely with school teachers and administrators to track student attendance and academic progress. We also provide direct financial support and kinship support services to struggling families, and distribute material goods throughout the year, including warm clothes and hygiene items. In the last year, we have expanded our services to help fund medical care, including on-site physicals, and health and hygiene awareness programs.
The Rural Education Empowerment Program (REEP) provides the same funding, service and care as DCI, but extends outside Dhading to help children in the similarly earthquake-affected, rural districts of Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, and Dolakha.
The EOSP is focused on providing these vulnerable, rural children with a way out of poverty through education and into a future of possibility and success. The program is also designed to ensure that particularly hard hit families are able to stay together and work to rebuild their communities.
2016 Dhading Children’s Initiative Report:DCI_Annual Report 2016