Finding Rays of Light In The Darkest Moments
A story of how an egg can bring thousands of unsung stories to life.
by guest author, Diya Shrestha
Her grin reflects her inner happiness and her gentle voice imprints her preciousness, she proudly answers, “My name is Januka Khanal”. Her family is in a district, four hours away from the capital: Kathmandu. She lives in Gorkha, a place glorified for the bold Gurkha soldiers and the King who united present-day Nepal: Prithvi Naryan Shah. Her father: Krishna Khanal, and mother: Laxmi Khanal parents to three children who support each other. Their never-ending aid led Januka to come to Kathmandu for refining her education. With a hope that in Kathmandu she would be appreciated and recognised.
Misfortune brought drought of happiness in their lives when they realised their child lost her sight, a case of inborn blindness. This obstacle did not stop Januka from further explorations as she took this difference and made it into a strength. Stereotypical thoughts of society like the negligence towards disabled children, the disability being a burden to the family and the child being “purposeless” had escaped the girl’s family’s mentality.
With aspiration and glee she started her journey in the busy streets of Kathmandu. Today, she studies in Namuna Machhindra Campus accompanied by several other challenged students. With her friends, she spends her nights in cheers and warmth. People’s buzz always occupies her, she is keen about Science and inquisitive to know how the world works, so, various inventions awe her. With an aim to become a teacher, she immensely pours effort into her academics and tends to aid her friends with any doubts. She shows deepest gratitude towards the school for allowing her to participate in Annual Quizzes as well.
“My parents sent me here knowing that back home I wouldn’t gain much respect, because of their decision I finally think that I am able to do something”, says Januka. Back home, she struggled to meet new people, unlike today, at the school she boldly greets teachers, relishes her time with her friends and assures herself.
Yet, a part of her is always haunted with the thought of a reckoning period the entire country suffered: the earthquake on 25th April 2015. A dooming day remembered for the thousands buried under hefty buildings, sacred monuments crushed instantly, and a thick cloud of dust clothing the streets.
The children at the school were evacuated and sheltered immediately outside for a couple of nights. Radio was placed inside Januka’s teacher’s tent. “A quake of 7.8 richter scale has trembled the epicenter is East of Gorkha District Barpak. It has been reported that so far 1,000 people have died and 8,000 are injured”, the machine announced. This news triggered Januka and constantly struggled to remain serene.
A sickening thought constantly occurred of her family being one of the 1,000. Days went by and the numbers increased from 1,000 to 9,000. Januka awaited without any information. "With God's grace my family was safe and were happier to hear that I was safe too, they were searching for shelter and hoped to never suffer starvation. The situation of my family made me feel guilty everyday as I was here without any challenges and they were there praying for their survival."
“My father returns home late, tired and exhausted. I always think if I can change that and if I ask him to stay back and rest he says who will bring this daily bread for you?”
25% of the people living in Nepal are under the poverty line. Everyday, children struggle to receive a proper diet. Disregarding basic nutrients, little ones will be found scuffling for any food they know. Nutrients are vacant in their lives and terrible diseases like Scurvy, Rickets, Beriberi, Stunting etc find their way to the children. Many adolescents suffer from inborn blindness due to nutritional deficiencies, the primary reason being deficiency in Vitamin A.
Each child slips opportunities that lead to a nation's development. Parents send their children away hoping that their future would be much brighter, however, nobody can affirm that. Parents battle for their children’s health, nevertheless, poverty doesn’t seem to leave their lives. Such talents are to be explored in the youth of today who strive to see the improvement in tomorrow.
The One Egg Program has successfully supported 776 children from schools, local communities and orphanages. Schools are supplied with eggs that are served to children three times a week aiming for their mental activeness and physical growth. “We can see the immediate joy in a child’s face when they realise that eggs are being served for lunch.” says Mr. Radha Krishna, principal of Namuna Machhindra Campus.
Tyson Food and Cobb Vantress, Shreenagar Agro Farm and OneEgg come together to continue their aim of development in child growth and reduce nutrient deficiency.