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: 1/12/2022. Jump to most recent update.
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. In late April 2021, Nepal faced a second major coronavirus surge and Kathmandu Valley went into another government-mandated lockdown. Emergency rooms and hospital beds were full, and NYF launched another response to the ongoing crisis: COVID-19 Isolation Centers. 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.
NYF opens a COVID Isolation Center at our Kathmandu Nutritional Rehabilitation Home
Nepal Youth Foundation opened our first COVID Isolation Center in our Kathmandu Nutritional Rehabilitation Home on Tuesday, May 4th, and it is already full, mostly with people under the age of 18.
Isolation centers provide safe care for individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 and must be isolated from their families, but who are not sick enough to be hospitalized.
NYF continues to distribute Lito, a “super flour,” through the second surge
NYF’s stock of already-prepared and packaged Lito continues to be distributed, along with other staples like rice and potatoes.
Team members make deliveries to orphanages, children’s hospitals, long-term care facilities, food banks, and other locations where individuals can access this critical resource.
NYF President Som Paneru interviews with BBC News TV, live from Kathmandu
President Som Paneru appears on BBC World News to describe the crisis– and the urgent needs in his country.
NYF adds four High-Dependency Units to COVID-19 Isolation Center
After a few weeks of operation, the COVID Isolation Center adds four “High-Dependency Units” or HDUs. Patients in need of hospital intervention will be moved to this area and held here, under stabilizing, high-level care and using special equipment, until NYF is certain a hospital ICU bed has been found for them.
Nepal’s lockdown extended as the second surge continues
Essential food outlets are only open for a couple of hours each morning, with the remaining businesses completely closed down to slow the spread. Transportation, both public and private, is halted. Only vehicles for essential services are allowed in the street.
244 patients treated at NYF’s COVID Isolation Center
The 50-bed capacity isolation center has been able to provide life-saving services to over 244 patients who were unable to isolate themselves at home.
Nepal government eases some COVID-19 restrictions
Authorities in Nepal allow district officials to decide whether to reopen schools and other public spaces.
After almost a year and a half of being in lockdown, children at Olgapuri Children’s Village are looking forward going back to school soon.
Students are finally able to take their long-awaited exams
After a massive delay due to COVID-19, 41 NYF students finally take their grade 12 examinations.
NYF pauses COVID Isolation Center services
Following a recent government decision to re-open public spaces, NYF suspends isolation center services to fully resume our regular NRH programming. Since its opening, we’ve admitted and treated more than 240 COVID-positive patients at our facilities.
We are continuing to produce Lito, our homemade “super” flour, at the NRH and are still distributing them to communities in need via the Lito for Life program.
NYF resumes regular programming at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH)
Our flagship NRH reopens, and eight children are in treatment for malnourishment. We are expecting an increase in the number of admissions as we resume our regular services and programming.
NYF’s “Lito for Life” continues
Between July 2020 and June 2021, our staff members distributed 6,644 kilograms (14,650 lbs) of lito—and the program is ongoing.
NYF recently expanded the Lito for Life program to include distribution of pantry staples beyond lito alone. Where needed, items like rice, potatoes, eggs, and lentils have also been delivered.