by Elinor Raymond, the Tevel Fellowship program
Purna Tamang is a 16 year old from Mannegau village and one of the most outstanding leaders of ‘Hami Yuva’, the youth movement founded by Tevel/Nyayik Sansar in 2009. In the village where he was born and raised, there is no school now. The school that used to serve the children in the community, although still standing, has not yet been inspected and may not be safe for the students. As a committed youth leader, and with the help of Tevel’s volunteers, Purna is guiding daily activities with the children of the village, keeping them busy and away from the dangerous ruins of the village houses, while their parents begin the arduous task of rebuilding their homes. They are also talking to the kids about their experiences during the earthquake while keeping their spirits up through fun activities. Purna’s commitment to his role in “Hami Yuva” and the children of his community is still strong despite the fact that he too lost his home. Purna’s house, where he used to live with his mother, father and two younger brothers, was completely destroyed.
The entire community, with the aid of volunteers, quickly mobilized to clear the ruins of the house blocking the path. They pulled down the remaining structure down so that it does not pose a potential hazard and so that rebuilding could commence as soon as possible. Purna stood there watching as what was once his house, became rubble and dust. He admits feeling sad, seeing his mother cry, but keeps a positive outlook: “Now [after the earthquake] we want to sit together and clean the village. I want to improve myself–if I guide the children I think I can become a leader. If I teach them, it’s good for them and the village–they’ll become good thinkers and can do what they want to.“