To some, Tzu Chi Foundation is an unknown name. But, for others, it is a name that cannot be erased from their hearts. After the Nepal earthquake in April, the foundation’s volunteers traveled throughout the country to provide love and relief. They focused on the missions of Charity, Medicine, Education and Culture. Inspired by their example, on September 12, Nepali volunteers organized a free health clinic in Ngagyur Memorial School.
The school is located in a suburban area of Kathmandu, a mountainous area in Nepal. Due to poor hygiene conditions after the earthquake, many students suffered from skin diseases; therefore, 26 local volunteers, including 10 medical personnel, held a free clinic and gave lessons in hygiene.
Although it was raining, students and teachers welcomed the volunteers. The teachers prepared breakfast. To begin the event, student representative Nauru led the students in prayer and singing the national anthem. Everyone was proud and happy. Then Dr. Sarvesh Gyawali introduced the history of Tzu Chi and, with help from others, taught students its songs in sign language.
After the ceremony, Dr. Sheela Verma and Nurse Maiya Prajapati took time to show the students and the teachers how to wash their hands properly. Effective hand hygiene is the single most important strategy in preventing infection.
Free medical service
In the school, there are 340 students from seven different districts. According to dermatologist Dr. Ratna Bhadur Ghastic, the main problem in the school is skin infection. He has treated more than 50 students and said: “it’s because students live in crowded and unclean rooms with poor standards of hygiene; besides, they are playing, eating and sleeping together every day in a warmer area. That is why students are unavoidably infected with bacteria, which is transmitted easily. If the medicine is provided in a timely way, the disease can be cured in two weeks.”
Dr. Nirdesh Shakya also performed minor operations for students who suffered skin conditions. One of them, Nurbu, said: “I am really happy for the program done by the Tzu Chi Foundation. No-one is affected by skin disease in my room. But, when I see other friends suffering from skin diseases, I feel really bad. We thank the Tzu Chi Foundation for supporting us.”
At the end, Maniram Bahadur Pradhan and Dr. Nirdesh Shakya presented hygiene kits to the school CEO, Jigme Lama. He expressed his gratitude for what Tzu Chi had done that day. He said: “without your help, we wouldn’t get any assistance nor would the students receive treatments from others.” In return, Mr. Jigme Lama presented hadas, a traditional ceremonial scarf, to all the volunteers as an expression of thanks.
The volunteers were delighted to participate in the event, that more people were familiar with Tzu Chi and that teachers received knowledge about health. Dr. Ratna Bhadur Ghasti said: “I am very happy to be here to provide free treatment to needy children. This is my second time volunteering in Tzu Chi. If the Tzu Chi Foundation gives me a chance to help others in the future, I will do so heartily.”
Article by Suman Prajapati, Sony Khaitu and Rupa Shrestha