Author: Stella Deetjen

Burned down – a new beginning for a family

37-year-old Dhanamaya Chepang lives with her family in one of our project villages in Chitwan in southern Nepal. Dhanamaya has a large family, nine of them live closely together in a small wooden house on the edge of the forest, at the very end of the village of Dhamili. The family has no land to farm. Both Dhanamaya’s husband, Akal Bahadur (48), as well as her eldest son Suresh (19) and his wife Kabita (19) have no education, cannot read or write and work as day laborers. They walk through the neighboring villages every day in search of income in road construction, as porters, they...

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Aarati – a twelve-year-old confronts the corona virus

It is June in Dubichaur, a small village in the province of Chitwan, when Aarati suddenly has a fever and the sore throat is getting worse. In these times of closed schools, shops and institutions, the Back to Life teams are regularly out and about in the villages of the project areas and provide the sponsored child families with aid packages, the children with books and monitor the state of health. It quickly becomes clear that Aarati should go to the hospital for a proper examination; she is taken to Narayanu Community Hospital. Since the family is very poor, Back to Life naturally covers...

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Books & colored pencils on tour

Our teammates Jhalak (left) and Rimal (right) look after the sponsored children during this difficult time. Schools in Nepal were closed for almost 7 months due to Corona. Online lessons were only offered by expensive private schools. The majority of Nepalese students came away empty-handed. We carried hundreds of books through the mountains for our students. Motivation is important The longer children have to stay away from school and are not motivated to continue learning and reading, the higher the risk of “drop-outs”, i.e. those who drop out of school without graduating....

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In conversation with midwife Janaki Karki

1. Can you tell us about the current situation in Gamgadhi? How are people reacting to the pandemic? | The people of Gamgadhi are very concerned. The local government has put in place a curfew to protect society. People’s freedom of movement between the villages is severely restricted and most of the residents stay at home. The markets only open at certain times to offer the most important groceries for sale. Social distancing, hand washing and other hygiene measures are strictly followed. People use masks when they are outside. 2. What fears do you have about the pandemic? | The awareness...

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With persistence to success

The difficult procurement of protective clothing for our 26 midwives in Mugu When the corona infections increased in Nepal and the lockdown was repeatedly extended, it was immediately clear to the Back to Life team that we had to react and bring more supplies to the mountains. Sufficient protective clothing for the 13 Mugu’s birth houses was at the top of the list and a true odyssey began. WHERE TO TAKE IT FROM AND HOW TO TRANSPORT? | Protective suits, gloves, masks, shoe covers, disinfectants – when 15 corona infections were confirmed in Nepalgunj on May 3, we were alarmed, because...

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How the mountain villages protect themselves from Corona

April 2020: The strict curfew also applies in the Mugu mountains. In our remote project villages, people are trying everything in their power to protect themselves from infection with Corona. All contact between the villages is broken. The village communities stay among themselves. Nobody who comes from outside is allowed in, even if they come from the village. Many Mugali who work as day laborers in Kathmandu or India are now trying to return. Without a daily income they cannot afford to stay in the city. Some run for weeks without a cent in their pockets. The returnees pose a great danger...

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Covid-19 prevention – only those who are informed can protect themselves!

In Nepal, hardly anyone spoke about Corona in February 2020, everyday life took its normal course, but the number of cases increased worldwide. In our remote and sometimes difficult to access project areas, the majority of the residents have no access to television, radio or social media to find out about current world events. Many cannot read or write and are already at the limit with the burden of their daily struggle for existence. From mid-February until the state-wide school closings on March 19, we carried out awareness programs at our project schools, the birth centers and in the project...

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A day in the life of the Alimaya

Alimaya is 11 years old and lives with her parents and two siblings (eight and 14 years old) in a remote village in the hills north of the well-known Chitwan National Park. Three other siblings are already away from home and are married. Her family belongs to the indigenous Chepang people. The little one is one of our Back to Life sponsored children and has been supported for some time by a committed couple from Germany with whom she regularly exchanges letters. The standard of living in their village is very low, there is no electricity and no running water. The families live in simple, self-made...

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Growing up without parents – we help Bibek

Little six year old Bibek caught my eye immediately when I recently (2018) visited our programs and schools in Nuwakot. Not because he romped around loudly while doing sports and games, but because of his shyness and because he hung on the tip of my skirt almost all day, following me everywhere. I noticed a deep sadness in his gaze, which was often empty. When I asked his teacher, I found out the reason for this: his parents are still alive, but Bibek is still considered a “social orphan” because he has to grow up without a mother and father and cannot yet understand the reason...

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From unhappiness to happiness

“He already recognizes it from a distance: our Back to Life logo! Whenever I run up the hill to the village in my Back to Life T-shirt, jacket or cap, he is already running towards me with a big smile on his face. This laugh full of happiness touches my heart every time “, says Govinda, one of our employees in Mugu. He works as a social worker for Gamtha, where we run a birthing center. Instead of a sibling – tragic loss of the mother Bhupendra is now five years old and healthy and happy. He was still a toddler when he lost his mother. So he can’t really remember her and...

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Bill Ramsey is our honorary sponsor

It started with jazz says Bill Ramsey about his life. Born in 1931 in Cinncinati, Ohio, the musical stronghold of rhythm and blues at the time, he was born with jazz and blues and became deeply rooted in him as he grew up. When he came to Germany at the age of 21, it was his love for music that would determine his professional career. In Frankfurt am Main he worked for AFN Radio, where he quickly rose to become a producer. A year later he recorded a concert by Ella Fitzgerald. When they sat together in the evening, happy and relaxed, he was asked to sing a song and sang a blues for Ella....

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Shadow and light

From Stella Deetjen When I visited the Sansari Devi School in Nuwakot for several days in 2018, which we rebuilt after the earthquake, I noticed a little six-year-old girl who had a perky face, but seemed surrounded by a great deal of weight. Or was she just shy? While the other schoolchildren romped happily across the schoolyard and enthusiastically tried out the hula hoops I had brought for them, she stood in silence on the edge of the action. In the end I managed to get her involved in the games and slowly gain her confidence. Together with her classmates she ran after the soap bubbles...

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Susanne Fröhlich on site

“I have more things in my trunk than these people own” – Susanne Fröhlich visits our projects Probably the most prominent visitor who has ever looked behind the scenes of Back to Life is Susanne Fröhlich, the well-known TV presenter and author. “I always think that reality is completely different from a glossy brochure from an aid organization. Sure, you can see big, dark children’s eyes looking at you, but I just wanted to see it for real. “ In 2018 she flew to Kathmandu at an invitation from Stella Deetjen. Here she finds a completely different world. She meets...

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Extended family time

“We sit huddled together in a jeep that winds its way up the hills of Chitwan on dirt roads. The serpentines are so narrow that the driver has to start several times. Suddenly the jeep got stuck, it doesn’t go backwards or forwards. So we get out and walk the last bit drenched in sweat up the hill to the school. There we are received with great joy and warmth – in the middle of the jungle. This exuberant, but natural joy and gratitude, which the children and also the parents and teacher Stella show, touches me more deeply than I would have thought possible. Somehow I am – even...

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Open your eyes – for the children of Nepal with a mobile eye clinic through the mountains

As part of the health care for the schoolchildren, Back to Life also has the boys and girls examined by an ophthalmologist. With a kind of outpatient, mobile eye clinic, our team travels or walks with the doctor in the remote areas from school to school. There the pupils are examined for their eyesight. The teachers of the respective schools support the campaign. The doctor usually stays for one day per school. Up to the rescue of the eyesightCorneal and lens opacity, strabismus, nearsightedness and farsightedness, conjunctivitis and eyelid inflammation as well as tear duct obstruction are...

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Hansa Devi – strong, courageous and undeterred

HOW DOES A YOUNG WOMAN BECOME AN IMPRESSIVE IMAGE? | You could start explaining at 5 a.m. Then when Hansa Devi gets up, puts water on and makes tea for “her” 24 children. When she wakes the children, instructs them to make the beds and sweep, and with some of them prepare breakfast for everyone. You could also start in class. When Hansa teaches and looks after the 24 deaf or severely hearing-impaired children in the school with the attached hostel using sign language she has learned herself. No matter when you start, Hansa is a remarkable young woman. A woman who herself had to overcome a difficult...

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Last minute rescue

With the last of her strength, 18-year-old Sandhya Nepali reached our birthplace in Loharbada in Mugu. The 7th month pregnant woman suffered from profuse bleeding. Our midwives immediately recognized the gravity of the situation. They decided that Sandhya had to be taken to hospital immediately because the life of the mother and child was in acute danger. Every minute was important, we couldn’t lose any time. In December there are only a few and irregular flights to and from Mugu, as there are no flights in unfavorable weather conditions or snowfall. Nevertheless, our on-site team managed...

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Help for those who don’t get help

Our health camp for 1200 people in Khatyad It only takes seconds and the weather changes. Thick fog blocks any view of the landing strip at Kolti in Mugu. Again and again the pilot aborts the landing and flies over the area again. It’s dangerous, he has to catch the right moment within a few moments, otherwise a catastrophe threatens. Too often these little fan guns have crashed. Only the 8th attempt succeeds. Not far from the runway, our Back to Life team sits together with the doctors from our health camp, which has just ended. Everyone looks at the scenario in silence, nobody wants...

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Month after month – becoming a woman shouldn’t be torture

With the taboo subject of menstruation, we are addressing girls directly in schools. We found out that they don’t know anything about their period. Our midwives and health assistants explain to the girls that it is a completely normal biological process and discuss shame, superstition, silence, myths and stigma together. During these conversations one can clearly see the “burden of guilt” that falls from her shoulders. Some girls do not even want to believe that all women in the world, regardless of religion or origin, whether rich or poor, even those in the big mega-cities are affected...

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Biogas – active environmental protection that improves life

Improving life with environmental protection. If cooking areas are operated with biogas systems, the surrounding forest is also protected. In addition to many other things, the health of the residents also benefits. Open fires in the houses were part of everyday life in our project areas. Not only do people in the smoky rooms cause lasting damage to their health, terrible accidents also happen and the fire can develop into a dangerous fire. Cooking areas that run on biogas are a perfect alternative for villages with sufficient livestock farming. The technology is basically quite simple:...

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