How we supported communities in Nepal during the Covid-19 pandemic: A review

October 4, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic meant a change for the whole world. The fast-spreading virus showed us how we are all connected - how our actions have an impact on others and others have an impact on us beyond national borders, skin color or religion.

Whereas news about the devastating situation in India spread around the world, little was known about its small neighbor Nepal. However, the situation was no less dramatic. Therefore, Long Yang e.V. and Akasha Academy NGO spared no efforts to support: We initiated fundraising campaigns, distributed food packages for hundreds of families, organized personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals and health posts in the communities and trained young women to become “Covid-19 Health Advisors”. We also appealed to the German Government to provide support and joined forces with 40 other NGOs active in Nepal.

Background – Multiple crises at the same time

As the rest of the world, Nepal was not prepared for the pandemic. It was too much for an already fragile and partially corrupt health system. Supply chains from other countries were cut as there was a worldwide shortage of protective equipment (PPE), test kits and other medical products.

To condemn the spread of the virus, the Nepalese government ordered strict lockdowns during 2020 and 2021 which lasted for weeks or even months at a time. Consequently, many could not work and lost their only income. Farmers were no longer able to get into the cities to sell their crops. Food prices increased; essential goods were running short. Many suffered from hunger, lack of access to clean water and medical treatment.

Video part 1 of our campaign #HopeForNepal. Young Nepalese give an impression of the situation.

Besides, the lives of the young Nepalese were also put on hold due to school closures, suspended exams and no chance to continue their education.

The second wave of the pandemic in 2021 was even harder than the first one. Nepal was among the top 10 countries with highest daily infection rates. The lack of beds in hospitals, oxygen, PPE, personnel, vaccinations and awareness of basic hygiene increased the threat of mutations which would have an effect not only on Nepal but the whole world.

How we supported

Through fundraising campaigns organized by Long Yang e.V. and Akasha Academy NGO, we were able to provide the much-needed PPE for health posts and hospitals around Kathmandu. This was achieved in cooperation with the Nepal Medical Students’ Society (NMSS). The motivated young medical students had started an initiative to organize and distribute the PPE and we supported them financially.

Video part 2 of our campaign #HopeForNepal. Young Nepalese give an impression of the situation.

We also gathered funds and organized the distribution of hundreds of food packages for families that no longer could afford to buy food. These packages helped families to cope for two weeks. The distributions started in the communities of Boudhanath, Patan, Suntakhan, Bhaktapur and Changunarayan. Together with the generous donation of the doTERRA healing hands foundation and many other supporters we were able to raise 15 000 Euros to support 450 more families with food, masks, soap and information about Covid and basic hygiene.

Video part 3 of our campaign #HopeForNepal. Young Nepalese give an impression of the situation.

The pandemic was at its peak when Akasha Academy was about to begin its Basic Health counsellor training (which later developed to Akasha Traineeship) for young women. Waiting for the pandemic to subside was not an option because the need was too big, and we wanted to find a way to help. Therefore, we developed the Covid-19 Health Advisor program which offered young people the chance to learn how to protect oneself and others from the virus. By passing on their knowledge to others, the participants could help their communities to stay safe.

Appeal to the German Government

When the second wave struck Nepal in 2021, the severity of the humanitarian crises reached a new peak. Until then, NGOs such as Long Yang e.V. and private persons were able to help stabilize the situation to some extent. Although we joined forces with the organizations Haus der Hoffnung, Brepal and Nepal Samaj Germany to help, it was clear that the situation actually demanded another magnitude of support. Therefore, we launched an appeal to the German Government – together with 40 other NGOs that are also active in Nepal. In the letter, we demanded the government to provide the funds, the infrastructure, relief packages and the coordinated deployment of experienced crisis helpers.

After the pandemic – what now

With the Covid-19 we saw how devastating a global pandemic is and how fast it can spread. The virus showed that everything that happens even in the farthest region of the world matters to us. If we keep exploiting nature and its precious elements, we will increase the risk of another pandemic. Preserving natural spaces and resources, protecting the diversity of our planet is the key – and the goal of Akasha Academy.

We are always looking for supporters who want to contribute with their time, expertise, or financial means. Please get in touch.