Bundled with love: A winterization kit filled with warmth and care

Published: Mar 20, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes
Bundled with love: A winterization kit filled with warmth and care
© Nitika Chalise

Every winter, the Terai region of Nepal experiences a period of profound cold, causing the temperature to drop rapidly due to a lack of sunshine, thick fog, and freezing winds. This reduces activity in the streets and marketplaces as people stay home. For the past few decades, these cold snaps have become a significant threat to the people of Nepal—particularly those living in the more than 20 districts of the Terai.

According to the National Emergency Operation Center, 46 people across 15 districts, including Rautahat and Sarlahi, have died due to these cold snaps over the past three years. Furthermore, these conditions also hurt agriculture, negatively affecting lives, especially small children, older people, and pregnant/lactating women.

With the support of Start Network, we, People in Need, and our local partner Aasaman Nepal have provided aid to those in need in three locations in Madhesh Pradesh: Katahariya Municipality and Yamunamai Rural Municipality in Rautahat; and Kaudena Rural Municipality in Sarlahi.

In the course of our emergency response, we met Aajmeri, a 20-year-old woman from a lower-caste Dalit family. Due to extreme financial conditions, Aajmeri could not attend school and got married at 16. Aajmeri was eagerly awaiting the safe arrival of her baby, but at the same time, she faced many challenges. She was already a mother of one child, and her husband and brother-in-law were daily wage workers who lived with their extended family of seventeen in a small hut. They struggled to make ends meet and had no land to call their own. Despite these difficulties, Aajmeri remained positive and kept a smile on her face. The walls and ceilings of Aajmeri's home are patched up but still have holes, while the room is filled with stacks of hay above and below the bed to keep themselves warm during winter. 

"We don't even have land to call our own. We have very few belongings as our possession, only some old kitchen utensils and clothes donated by others", says Aajmeri's mother-in-law.

PIN provided Aajmeri and her family with a winterization kit, a dignity kit, and nutrition top-up support to help her cope with the intense cold. With these essential items, Aajmeri and her family were able to weather the harsh winter with comfort and dignity. 

Aajmeri was grateful for the support and said, "If you weren't fully present today, our family, community, and the unborn child would have been severely affected."

We also met Mahendra Mandal, a 60-year-old man who was bedridden and unable to work due to paralysis. He lives in a small hut with his wife and 14 family members. Despite his physical disability, Mahendra was still strong in spirit and often roamed around the village in his wheelchair, talking to people and making new friends. However, as the winter approached, Mahendra found himself struggling even more. He didn't have enough warm clothes, and the cold weather made his bed sores even more painful.

We provided Mahendra with warm clothing and other essential items to help him through the winter. With our support, Mahendra was more comfortable and could enjoy the winter season with his family.

With the support of Start Network and our local partner Aasaman Nepal, we distributed 475 winterization kits, 100 dignity kits, and 100 nutrition packages to 465 households comprised of pregnant and lactating women, single women, senior citizens, children, people with disabilities, and people with chronic disease. 

Author: Nitika Chalise, PIN Communication and Technical Officer

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