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Nepal earthquake: inseparable Nirmala and Khendo

Inclusion
Nepal

On 25 April 2015, Nepal was hit by a violent earthquake. Hundreds of kilometres apart, Nirmala and Khendo were both buried under the rubble. Rushed to hospital, they each had a leg amputated. This is where they met, attended rehabilitation sessions with HI’s physiotherapists, and learned to walk. Three years on, they are almost never apart and even go to school together. Their dream? To dance again.

Khendo and Nirmala were earthquake victims in april 2015 in Nepal.

Khendo and Nirmala were earthquake victims in april 2015 in Nepal. | © Elise cartuyvels/HI

I was at home with my family when I felt the earth shake. I tried to run like the others but a wall fell on top of me. I don’t remember anything else. I woke up in hospital in Kathmandu without one of my legs. I was really frightened,” says Nirmala, 10.

I met Nirmala and Khendo shortly after the earthquake,” explains Sudan Rimal, one of HI’s physiotherapists. “I massaged their stumps and taught them exercises to strengthen their leg muscles. They were fitted with a prosthesis and learned to walk again. They regularly come back to see me. We need to adjust their prostheses every six months because they’re growing so fast. We’ve formed a strong relationship based on trust.

Three years on and Nirmala and Khendo are almost never apart. Nirmala’s family has moved to Kathmandu where her father works in a textile factory. Khendo lives without her parents, who have moved back to Sindhupalchok district. During the school term, the two girls stay at boarding school. They are in Year 4. “We sleep in the same room, in the same bed. Whenever Nirmala cries, I cry. We do everything together. I haven’t seen my parents for a year. I really miss them. I love living in town and buying clothes in shops, but I want to see them again.

Khendo enjoys science lessons at school: “We learn things about the human body and our lives. For example, it’s bad to smoke and to drink alcohol. Later, I want to be a primary school teacher or a nurse, to care for the injured”. Nirmala adds with a twinkle in her eye: “I want to be an actress. In fact, I already am in a way. I’ve already acted in a film! I want to be famous.”

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Nepal “When the ground stopped shaking, it was total devastation”
© Lucas Veuve/ HI

Nepal “When the ground stopped shaking, it was total devastation”

Sudan Rimal, 29, works as a physiotherapist for HI in Nepal. Since the country was hit by an earthquake on 25 April 2015, he has assisted hundreds of casualties, providing them with rehabilitation care and helping them learn to walk again. This is his personal account.

Three years after the earthquake: HI continues to assist victims
© Prasiit Sthapit/HI

Three years after the earthquake: HI continues to assist victims

More than 8,000 people were killed and 22,000 injured when an earthquake hit Nepal three years ago. Already present in the field, HI launched an immediate response in aid of those affected, providing assistance to more than 15,000 people.

Incredible Ramesh: a victim of the Nepal earthquake, he has won 22 sports medals
© Elise Cartuyvels/HI

Incredible Ramesh: a victim of the Nepal earthquake, he has won 22 sports medals

When an earthquake hit Nepal on 25 April 2015, Ramesh, 18, found himself buried, fully conscious, under the rubble. Badly injured, he lost both legs. After receiving rehabilitation care and prostheses with support from HI, he’s back on his feet and training for the next Paralympic Games. Ramesh has risen to every imaginable challenge: weight training, swimming, tennis, basketball, dancing and wheelchair racing.