Rabi fourth grader has no school books
At around 6 in the morning in Ranipur village, Rabi was woken up by the noise outside. He quickly got up and found out that the water levels have started to rise in his village. The Babai River has flooded and now entering the villages, which had hardly, seen any flooding in decades.
Rabi, who has a younger sister and a brother, didn’t know much about flood. He says that the water level quickly rose and came up to his chest. He was scared – “ I held on to my mother” as the family started to move towards the concrete home 200 feet away from his home hoping to be able to make it to the rooftop. Rabi says, “my cousin carried my youngest brother who is very small.” The family along with many others stayed on the rooftop for over 12 hours before the water level receded. “It was extremely hot.”
When Rabi’s parents walked through the muddy trails left by the flood, the house had completely collapsed. Pointing to the space his home used to be, Rabi says, “This was where I used to sleep.” His parents are busy, trying to rebuilt their lives, starting with gathering wood, tiles and other remaining furniture that the rain was kind enough to leave behind. Rabi says that the first few days after the flood, they survived on amrud (guavas). Rabi and his little siter Arati stay home and walk about the flood destroyed village. For the flrst week after the flood Rabi and his family slept in the school.
He says, “I lost my textbooks – science, social studies, maths, Nepali and English.” Estimated 25,000 children have lost their textbooks and school supplies in the flood. Some books have floated to their home, which he says is not his. Rabi says, “ I do not know how to go back to school. We do not have books. When you don't’ have book…” (he abruptly stopped speaking and gave us a nervous smile)
“All the food is wet and rotting. My mother cooked the wet rice but I couldn’t eat that. Few days ago, we got some rice and lentils that we cooked and ate.” Local administration has provided some rice and lentils to the affected family so did the local businessmen.
Currently Rabi’s family of five is living under a tarpaulin tent erected in the place where his home used to be. As his parents try to put their lives together, he and his sister is in charge of looking after their toddler brother.
When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he said that he didn't know but his friends gathered around their said, “He wants to be a poet’. And he smiled.
Save the Children has distributed over 800 NFIs to the residents of Padnaha VDC which included shelter kits, kitchen sets, hygiene kits, bed nets and baby packs (under 2 children) last week.
Save the Children in the next phase will work in schools in affected VDCs, helping them to starting operating again, replacing muddy and destroyed furniture, including school supplies.