Earthquakes and child protection
Earlier this year, when Urmila’s hotel began shaking, she thought that people were fighting. In reality, as she rushed outside, she and millions of others in Nepal experienced the most destructive earthquake in 80 years. Urmila, 23 and an advocate for girls’ rights, survived the quake, just as she’d survived years of abuse and exploitation. Her background working as a Kamalari child slave (a servant) and her role in trying to abolish that practice made her aware of how vulnerable girls were after the quakes. We often see a rise in sexual exploitation and child trafficking after such disasters. In the hours and days after the quakes, our 280 Nepalese staff offered immediate aid to injured and traumatized people. One of the responsibilities of people like Urmila was child protection, to ensure that girls and boys were safe, had shelter and could attend makeshift schools. In addition to providing recovery shelter, non-food items and technical support, Plan works to ensure that vulnerable children, as well as their families and communities, are safe and secure before, during and after disasters.