Post-quake Tundikhel a favourite haunt for kids

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Post-quake Tundikhel a favourite haunt for kids

May 21, 2015-

Tundhikhel has virtually become a safe haven for a lot of children lately. The biggest grass-covered open space in the heart of the city has not only been providing shelter to those whose houses have been rendered uninhabitable by the great earthquake, but also providing plenty of recreation for their children.

Two meals a day combined with a light snack, fruit juice and plenty of entertainment has attracted a lot of children to Tundhikhel.

“It is so good in here. We are provided food, juice and there are lots of things to play with,” said Saroj Giri-8, who has been living in a tent with his family since the April 25 earthquake severely cracked his family’s rented room in Tahiti.

Different organisations have set up recreation centres for the children affected by the earthquake in Tundhikhel, and even children whose houses are deemed safe are coming here to engage in the fun and merriment. Namraj Shahi is one among many children who spend their daytime here and return to their respective homes in the evening.

“I play here with other kids, eat my meals and watch cartoons before returning home in the evening,” said 12-year-old Shahi who lives in a rented room at Kamaladi with his mother and elder brother.

“The place where I live is fine. It has not been damaged by the earthquake as it is just a single storied building. But I come here because there are lots of things to do here which I can’t do at home,” added the sixth grader. A “child-friendly tent” has been set up here by the UNICEF, where children between two to eight years play with toys, and are encouraged to sing and dance.

Another tent cater to the needs of children above eight years. Many of these kids were seen playing badminton and football in the open space available.

“We want the children to feel normal and want to ensure that they eat a balanced diet and get lots of physical activity,” said Agatha Thapa, who was entertaining children below eight years.

There is also a tent where children get to sketch and paint, and another one a little further that is set up by Samsung Care Nepal where both children and youngsters get to watch television. The “television tent” has set a schedule for kids to see cartoons while showing movies and news to adults during other times. These recreational activities open at 10 in the morning and close at four in the afternoon.  A few people were also seen distributing toys and snacks to the children. Reeta Upreti, a ten-year-old girl, was one among many children seen playing with friends in the open space of Tundhikhel. Her father, a tourist guide, had gone to work, while her mother was out shopping.

“As we are staying here in the tents, my parents will return in the evening after finishing their work. Till then I spend my time watching television and playing with my friends,” said Upreti, who has been residing in Tundhikhel since the house in Chhetrapati which her family rented was razed to the ground by the Great quake on April 25.

Meanwhile, parents are also happy that their children’s mind has been diverted elsewhere from the death and devastation through entertainment and recreational activities.

“My son seemed a lot withdrawn and talked very little after the April 25 earthquake. But now he is doing okay. With so many things to do during the day, he now sleeps soundly at night,” said Sunita, mother of Saroj. “We are grateful to all the people who have come out to help our children during these difficult times.” 

Published: 22-05-2015 07:57

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