NYF’s COVID-19 Timeline
A brief overview of COVID-19 in Nepal; and NYF’s strong responses to it.
This timeline is a developing piece. Last updated: 5/5/2021
On March 11, 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Not too long after, on April 4th, 2020, Nepal confirmed its first locally-transmitted case of COVID-19. Since then, NYF has launched four emergency programs in response to the pandemic (Community Nutrition Kitchens, The Emergency Lifeline Halfway Home, Access to Education, Lito for Life). Thanks to our dedicated team in Nepal and loving support from the wider NYF community, these programs have been an incredible success.
But the crisis is not over yet. Our global team is still responding carefully and mindfully as the situation evolves in Nepal. As of May 5, 2021, Nepal is facing a second major coronavirus surge and Kathmandu Valley is in another government-mandated lockdown. Please scroll down the timeline to see NYF’s latest COVID updates.
NYF remains incredibly grateful for our community of supporters, and for our amazing team in Nepal. Thank you all for being so patient, supportive, and generous during these challenging times. Whether you joined us recently or have been here with us since the beginning of this pandemic: Dhanyabad.
The World Health Organization declares coronavirus a pandemic
Travel bans are issued. NYF Founder Olga Murray sadly departs Kathmandu and returns home to Sausalito, California.
NYF’s programs are paused
Programs in Nepal are restricted to ensure the health and safety of our staff and the people in our care. K-12 schools in Nepal close, with colleges and universities to follow later in the week.
Olgapuri Children’s Village goes into lockdown, the vocational school training program is suspended, and the main Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH) closes temporarily.
A shelter-in-place order is announced for six Bay Area counties, and U.S. staff in California begins to work remotely.
Nepal issues a country-wide lockdown
Nepal’s strict, nation-wide lockdown goes into effect on March 24, 2020.
Both China and India close their borders to Nepal, leaving the small land-locked country with skyrocketing prices for food, medicine, and other essentials.
Olgapuri Children’s Village continues its own very strict lockdown to ensure that all 77 of the children who live there are safe. The children find creative ways to learn and stay active with help from their live-in house parents.
Global cases pass 3 million; 57 confirmed cases in Nepal
Nepal’s country-wide lockdown is extended to last another month.
NYF’s four trained counselors at Ankur Counseling Center continue to provide essential services over the internet and the telephone. Their workload is increasing significantly as they try to reach families suffering from increased domestic violence (a side-effect of lockdown conditions).
NYF launches first COVID-19 program: Community Nutrition Kitchens
In response to rising food costs in urban areas of Nepal, NYF begins a pop-up Community Nutrition Kitchen program in Lalitpur to provide hot, nutritious lunches free-of-charge to children.
NYF launches second COVID program: an emergency shelter for women
On June 17, NYF signed an MoU with the Lalitpur Metropolitan City to use the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH) facility as a free quarantine space and shelter for women (and their children) returning home from abroad.
The first group of nine women arrive at the facility on June 18, 2020.
Nepal’s hunger crisis is featured in the New York Times
“Nepal families face hunger, skip meals as pandemic hits remittances,” writes journalist Gopal Sharma.
For the months since the lockdown began, individuals have not been able to work. Forced into tough decisions between rent and food, many are going hungry.
NYF launches third COVID program: Lito for Life
In response to the hunger crisis caused by the lockdown, NYF begins distributing packets of Lito — a type of ‘super flour’ made of roasted and ground corn, wheat, and soybeans — to keep urban families nourished.
Nepal’s country-wide lockdown is lifted
Though the government has relaxed its restrictions, Olgapuri remains strictly on lockdown. The children continue to stay at home, attending virtual classes every day.
NYF’s Vocational Education team starts a new mobile training program in order to serve students safely during COVID times. 135 students join in July, and NYF considers plans to continue the program even after COVID times.
NYF launches fourth COVID program: Access to Education
With ongoing public school closures, students are starting to fall behind.
To combat this, NYF begins a trial run of a new village-based learning program, called Access to Education, in Dhading District.
The pilot program receives enthusiastic support from students, teachers, and parents.
Read about the beginnings of NYF’s Access to Education program.
NYF’s New Life Center and Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes re-open
NYF resumes the operation of our Nutritional Rehabilitation Home (NRH) and New Life Center program. With restrictions being uplifted, NYF anticipates more and more hospitals will begin referring children with malnutrition and/or HIV to our facilities.
NYF pauses pop-up Community Nutrition Kitchens
By recommendation of The Social Welfare Council, NYF pauses the pop-up nutrition kitchen program. With people resuming work and receiving an income again, there is less urgency for free meals.
NYF will continue distributing Lito packages to families in need, and will be ready to resume the pop-up kitchen program as soon as it’s needed.
Emergency shelter opens to all as an isolation facility for patients with COVID-19.
In September, the MoU for the emergency women’s shelter (previously signed on June 17, 2020) is revised in order to become a isolation facility for patients infected with COVID-19.
NYF provides isolation services to 46 people in total: 24 women and 22 men
NYF opens 46 more Access to Educations centers
An additional 46 Access to Education Centers open in two rural municipalities in Dhading District.
With an average of 100 students per satellite center, NYF provides 5,000 K-10 students with educational opportunities they haven’t had in six months, and mobilizes 354 teachers who are already on the Nepalese government’s payroll.
All 80 of NYF’s Access to Education centers are open
Moving carefully to ensure COVID-19 stays out of these villages, NYF finishes the year with an additional 30 education centers in Gandaki Rural Municipality.
All 80 satellite centers continue to run for over 9,000 children who are still out of school.
India donates 1M doses of COVID vaccine to Nepal
India (and China to follow) donates 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Nepal. The first 500,000 healthcare workers in Nepal have begun to be vaccinated.
Schools in Nepal are starting to re-open
Most of the children at Olgapuri Children’s Village are now back in in-person classes at school. Home-schooling is provided for those children whose schools have not re-opened.
NYF staff in Nepal receive the vaccine
All NYF staff members at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Home and New Life Center receive the vaccine. Staff members at Olgapuri Children’s Village are in the process of getting vaccinated.
NYF launches SAAET Project
Inspired by the new Olgapuri greenhouses built during the lockdown, NYF launches SAAET – a new vocational education training program for women in rural Nepal.
Second major wave of COVID hits Nepal and Kathmandu Valley enters another lockdown; NYF opens COVID isolation facilities
As cases surge, another government-mandated lockdown starts in Kathmandu to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Hospitals are already full. Vaccinated NYF staff members set up COVID isolation facilities.
India’s outbreak spreads quickly
Nepal records the highest daily increase in death since the beginning of the pandemic as the country faces a major surge in COVID cases. Only 1% of the landlocked country’s population is fully vaccinated.