COVID in Nepal | Helping Those in Need – Mamata’s Story
This is Part 1 of a three-part series on COVID-19 in Nepal. Check back to read more about how the people of Nepal, and especially the Little Sisters, are coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
Did you know Nepal has roughly the same population as the state of Texas? However, Nepal’s 29 million people live in a land area less than one-fifth the size of Texas. That would be like taking the population of Texas and squeezing it into the state of Iowa. That’s a lot of people in a relatively small amount of space, especially when almost half of Nepal is the sparsely populated high Himalaya! And, as we have learned, population density is a critical risk factor for the spread of COVID-19.
As of this writing, Nepal is reporting 40,529 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Sounds like Nepal is doing great compared to other countries, right? Unfortunately, no. Nepal was very quick to institute a strict lockdown of the entire country on March 24. This has certainly helped keep the numbers down when compared to other countries across the globe. However, we must also consider the limited infrastructure and testing capacity of the healthcare system in Nepal. This is why, even with relatively small numbers of COVID cases, the situation in Nepal is extremely precarious.
Little Sister Alum, Mamata Mukhiya, is concerned about Nepal’s limited testing capacity and the country’s ability to handle the rapidly increasing numbers of COVID-positive cases. “People are having a hard time fulfilling their daily needs because of the lockdown,” said Mamata. “That is why I have been volunteering in my community. We are trying to help people meet their basic needs, and also teach them the importance of wearing masks, sanitizing their hands, and maintaining social distancing.”
LSF has supported Mamata in her education since she was in 3rd grade and continues to assist with her college expenses through the Higher Education Opportunity Fund. In addition to her online studies during COVID, Mamata has been helping her family run a small produce shop. They have been trying to help their friends and neighbors by giving away fruits and vegetables to those in need. Mamata has also been writing poetry to cope with the increased anxiety caused by the pandemic.