Children Rally for Change

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Pramilia Ghale is a small girl, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in passion. On a December day, she joined a throng of other children walking up and down the mountains of Nepal to share messages about toilets.

“They walked through beautiful rice paddy fields and across several small villages,” explained Rubash Tamang, World Renew’s water, sanitation, and hygiene educator. 

“They shouted for two to three hours unceasingly without any complaints, to help make the community aware that they should stop open defecation and start building toilets.”

The child rally was part of World Renew’s disaster-response program in Nepal, where an earthquake killed more than 8,000 people and caused millions of dollars of damage in April 2015. World Renew provided emergency food supplies and has also been helping people rebuild.

As part of this effort, World Renew has started clubs in nine regional wards. The clubs help children cope with trauma but also teach messages about health and hygiene through games and songs. The children have been trained about the importance of having and using latrines, washing their hands with soap, and drinking only clean water.

As a next step, the children wanted to share their knowledge with the adults in their communities. They decided to hold a rally. The children in the clubs planned a route, wrote slogans, and invited all of their friends to join. Even though it rained on the day of their event, they kept walking and shouting.

“When I joined the rally for wards four and five, I heard the small and loud voice of a young girl leading them,” said Tamang. “It was apparently a small, shy girl with big courage named Pramilia Ghale. She was constantly shouting slogans during the long rally up and down the terrain.”

Ghale is part of the children’s club; her family received food, blankets, and other assistance from World Renew to help them rebuild after the earthquake. They live in a temporary shelter built with iron sheeting provided by World Renew and also built a latrine.

World Renew is providing earthquake survivors with materials for these latrines, but the families must agree to build the pit before they can receive materials. By educating all members of the family about the importance of latrines, the hope is that more families will build and use them. The ultimate goal is for the entire region to use latrines.

“It was an overwhelming experience to observe how children were so enthusiastic and motivated to help their communities,” said Tamang.

About the Author

Kristen deRoo VanderBerg was part of the World Renew Communications team from 1999-2016. She now serves as director of Communications & Marketing for the Christian Reformed Church.

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