Red Cross volunteer, Binita is determined to help families in her community, named Kaule, to recover from the disaster in a way that is safer, healthier, and more resilient to future emergencies. “It takes effort to bring change,” she remarked. It’s a sort of motto for her and fellow volunteers.
“It takes effort to bring change.”
She’s part of a Red Cross team that walks the rugged terrain of Kaule, knocking on doors, to remind parents about the importance of vaccines. She makes multiple home visits to ensure parents and their babies participate in the immunization campaign being implemented by Nepal’s government.
The special attention isn’t lost on community members. “To promote hygiene, vaccinations, and sanitation, you have to surround people with messaging—and they’re encouraged to do it.”
At the nearby health center, Binita talks to moms and dads whose babies are waiting to be immunized against diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and polio. Each holds an immunization record for their child and prepares for the quick (but definite) cry that comes with a needle pinch.
A Red Cross volunteer for three years, Binita, serves her community with pride – and strength. Last year, she and some of her neighbors walked the hilly dirt road for an hour with a pregnant woman in their arms. The woman had complications while in labor and needed expert care to deliver her baby. It was a harrowing experience, but hopefully one Binita and her neighbors won’t have to repeat. Thanks to the Red Cross, the local birthing center in Kaule now has specialized equipment.
“The earthquake was a setback to improved health, water, and sanitation, but people are putting those things in their plans as they build back,” Binita says.
Binita is outspoken in her community and passionate about her volunteer gig, stating, “The Red Cross is community oriented, so it’s a sustainable way to make change. Other organizations come and go, but the Red Cross is here for the long-term. I admire that the Red Cross focuses on projects that benefit the whole community, like water infrastructure and public health.”
In March, Binita accompanied a new mother, Praatima Tamang, and her 5-month-old son, Rupesh, to get immunized against diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and polio.
Praatima a seamstress by trade, is not taking any chances with her son’s health. “The Red Cross volunteers serve as a good reminder for parents in this town to vaccinate their kids,” said Praatima. “Of course I feel good that Rupesh will receive his vaccinations today. I need to keep him healthy!” Red Cross teams are supporting the government-run immunization campaign by ensuring that every family with a child under the age of two participates.
“The Red Cross volunteers serve as a good reminder for parents in this town to vaccinate their kids. Of course I feel good that Rupesh will receive his vaccinations today. I need to keep him healthy!”
This isn’t the first help Praatima and her family have received from the Red Cross. Her husband, Kiran, participated in an intensive mason training funded by the Red Cross. Thanks to that certification, Kiran is able to make a living reconstructing homes in a way that makes them more resistant to earthquakes and other natural disasters. Her mother, whose house collapsed during the earthquake, received emergency supplies, cash to begin reconstruction on her home, and aid to help her get through a cold winter in the quake’s aftermath.
Two years after an earthquake struck Nepal, Red Cross teams are still helping people recover. The American Red Cross is working alongside the Nepal Red Cross, the Spanish Red Cross, and the Canadian Red Cross on helping people rebuild their homes, spreading health and vaccination messages, constructing water and irrigation systems to affected towns, replacing medical equipment, restoring people’s livelihoods, and more.