The digital divide – II by Parwat Portel

It is 8:30 AM and Janaki Kafar, 16, of Mechinagar, Jhapa has just finished cleaning the local Hanuman Temple. At exactly 9 AM, local children gather around, set jute mats and sit. They pull out their notebooks, books, pens. Janaki turns on the radio and for the next two and a half hours the students […]

The digital divide – I by Parwat Portel

Garima Niraula, 15, was in the middle of the ninth grade when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down her school in Jhapa. For three months she didn’t have much to do and worried about her future. Good news came late in June when her school, Dhulabari Secondary School decided to start online classes. Classes start at […]

The digital divide by Parwat Portel

In late March when Nepal went into lockdown to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions across the country shut down. For four months Nepal’s 8.2 million children were unable to attend school. Even before the pandemic, Nepal’s education system was already in crisis with low graduation rates, low attendance, high drop-out rates, insufficient resources, […]

Farming in the pandemic by Nitu Ghale

Shashikala Rai, 45, moved from Bhojpur some eight years ago and has been selling momos to support her family. The government-imposed COVID-19 lockdown and fear of infection have meant that her momo stall has to remain shut until it is safe again. Not one to stay idle, Rai started planting vegetables, millet, maize, and soybean […]

Pandemic stigma by Krishnaya Upadhayay

Saru Nepali, 19, was concerned for her husband Lokesh Nepali’s safety when Nepal and India went into lockdown in late March. Lokesh arrived home in Bohoragaun, Chandannath Municipality in Jumla after a tiring six-day journey from Uttarakhand, India, but it was unclear where he was supposed to go, so Lokesh headed home to his family. […]

Test and isolate by Padam Raj Bhatta

TEST AND ISOLATE: Two migrant workers who recently arrived in Kailali from India were tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. They were asked to isolate at home because they were asymptomatic. As cases increase, the local hospitals are unable to house all positive cases in isolation wards. Seti Hospital in Kailali has only 50 beds, […]

Chariot unease by Nitu Ghale

Every year the community in Patan comes together to build the chariot for an ancient spring festival honouring Buṅga Dyaḥ (Rato Machhindranath), the deity of rain. It is one of the biggest events that last for weeks as the chariot is pulled throughout Lalitpur. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and concerns over coronavirus infection, it […]

Cast a wide net by Madhuri Mahato

Bigun Majhi, 24, and Paltan Majhi, 32 of Bindabasini, Birjung, wake up early in the morning, pack a small bag of essentials and head out to the local Tilawe River. Until just a couple of months ago, Bigun and Paltan were working in India, across the border, as migrant workers and sending money home. When […]

Quarantine check-in by Parwat Portel

Krishna Rai, 33, of Mechinagar, Jhapa, eastern Nepal, did not want to go to a government quarantine centre when he returned to Nepal from India last week. “Social media was full of information about how mass quarantine could become infection centres,” says Rai, “I had stayed safe so far, I didn’t want to get infected […]

No More Test Delays by Padam Raj Bhatta

In early June, a 55-year-old woman died while undergoing kidney dialysis at the Seri Zonal Hospital. When she was admitted to the hospital, she was given the rapid diagnostic test (RDT), where she tested negative for the COVID-19 virus. Hospital did not have a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test facility. All samples were going to […]