Safe Spaces To Play In Nepal

Smiling young Nepalese boy making hand prints with paint on canvas

Raju Maharjan has been attending the children’s counselling and art therapy sessions that are taking place in one of our ShelterBox tents in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Emily Whitfield-Wicks/ShelterBox)

 

As well as providing shelter for families whose homes were lost when powerful earthquakes hit Nepal, some of our ShelterBox aid has been used to create safe spaces for people to recover from the disaster.
In Balaju Park in Kathmandu, we provided one of our ShelterBox tents to a local children’s art therapy organisation that has created a fun, friendly environment where children can overcome the trauma of experiencing the earthquakes.
The space is not only a place where children have the chance to play, sing, dance and draw, but somewhere that they can receive one-on-one therapy too. The ShelterBox tent was given with the specific purpose of providing an area for this therapy to take place and to train up counsellors and volunteers who are committed to helping the children overcome their experiences.
One child who has been visiting the art therapy service is 13 year old Raju Maharjan. When the earthquake struck, Raju was sitting on his bed at home in a modest brick building. As the walls collapsed around him, he felt the urge to run, but he was already trapped. Raju called to his uncle to help him but the earthquake had been so violent and sudden that it took 20 minutes for his uncle to extract him from the rubble.
Covered in blood and bleeding from several injuries sustained by the falling bricks and timber, he ran to his mother’s work place to make sure that she was safe and unharmed.
Raju and his mother Nirmala stand in front of the ruins of their family home. (Emily Whitfield-Wicks/ShelterBox)

Raju and his mother Nirmala stand in front of the ruins of their family home. (Emily Whitfield-Wicks/ShelterBox)

Raju and his family are now staying under a tarpaulin near to their fallen house. They do not want to move far away from the area, in case strangers claim their land.
Raju’s mother Nirmala said: ‘I can’t leave the place where my house stood, I own the land but cannot prove it because I don’t know where my paperwork is after the quake. I don’t know how I’m going to rebuild a home for my family.’
Aside from worrying about her land, Nirmala still worries about her family, particularly Raju, who didn’t eat for three days after the first earthquake and still has problems sleeping a month later.
She said: ‘I’m still very afraid. Raju was so frightened after the earthquake that it created a trauma within him but with the art therapy service he’s smiling more and I can see him coming back to us.’
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3 comments

  1. John Hale · June 2, 2015

    Hi Mike, love your blogs. Keeps we ambassadors in the loop, and I do a regular Shelterbox report at our Rockingham Rotary Club Monday dinner meetings.
    Cheers, John Hale

  2. MikeGreenslade · June 2, 2015

    Thanks John, I’m glad you’re finding them useful and keeping your club up to date. Cheers, MIke

  3. United Military Travel · June 5, 2015

    This is amazing, every child deserves a childhood and to be a child.

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