Geneva, Switzerland (UNOSDP), June 22, 2015: Since the devastating earthquake hit Nepal in April this year, Lokendra Acharya and Prateek Syangdem have been on the frontline of the country’s recovery efforts.
The two Nepalese youth, who in different years participated in the UNOSDP Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), share with us how the knowledge acquired during the programme is helping them maximize the post-disaster relief activities they are involved in.
Lokendra Acharya, 26, “Change for Health – Nepal”; in 2013, attended the 7th Youth Leadership Camp in Gwangju (South Korea).
Like many of his countrymen, Lokendra lost his house in the first of the two major earthquakes, and has been living in a tent since. Despite the personal distress, he got immediately involved in search-and-rescue operations in Kathmandu helping find survivors under collapsed buildings, and mobilized his community to construct temporary hygiene facilities.
Architect by profession, Lokendra then formed a group of engineers and technicians to conduct visual damage assessment of villages and build shelters for those in need. With his organization, “Change for Health-Nepal”, he also implemented free Health Camps in remote areas of Nepal affected by the quakes and consequent aftershocks, providing treatment to several hundred victims.
“The things that I learnt at the YLP camp have been of great use at this time of disaster”, Lokendra says, adding that the training he received as a participant of the programme taught him to work more efficiently in a team, to prioritize and to use sport and play activities as tools for stress relief.
“We selected schools at our venue, and I found that the children were not able to smile and play after the earthquake. However, the ideas of different sport-based attractive games that I learned at the Camp helped me encourage the children to participate. I was even able to run a wheelchair game for a person with a disability”.
To increase effectiveness of Lokendra’s efforts, the UNOSDP put him in touch with the Japan-based “Makibiz” association which has great depths of experience in architectural restoration of areas affected by natural disasters and are willing to offer the YLP alumni their practical advice.