The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all. Since Nepal went into lockdown we are hearing about many issues that girls and young women are facing.
There have been news reports published about a high increase in gender-based violence, for instance. Each day I hear about new cases, even cases of rape. Let's not hide these issues but raise our voices against this discrimination.
Since the global economy has been severely affected by lockdown, migrant workers are returning to Nepal, now jobless. They are facing a difficult situation and losing hope to return to life as we knew it before COVID-19.
About 1,100 people have committed suicide during the lockdown in Nepal. However, the response from the government is slow and not planned well.
Fake news spreads confusion
Information sharing and online activities are on the rise, often with the wrong information and fake news. People are online most of the time these days. They are exposed to various information leading to confusion and fear. There is also a lack of awareness among young people about staying safe online.
There have been news reports published about a high increase in gender-based violence.
Education has become online classes, however, it is difficult for many children to access the internet due to the high costs involved. Thankfully, the local government has introduced radio schooling which makes it much easier for most children to attend classes.
Girls struggling to manage their periods
Apart from those issues, as girls, we have our own issues like managing our periods. Menstruation does not stop during a pandemic situation. Girls are facing a situation where they lack sanitary pads because markets and shops are closed.
It is difficult to manage menstruation if there is little access to water, soap and sanitary pads. Therefore, such necessities should be available for all young girls, especially in rural areas. This should be a part of any relief package and available to girls having to quarantine.
Let’s work together
Saving lives is the key concern for everyone today. So, we should all strictly follow the government's instructions. Please wash your hands regularly, maintain social distancing, use masks and sanitisers. This will help reduce the spread of infection and keep people safe.
Just because the government has eased lockdown, it does not mean the virus is eliminated. The virus will remain until we get a vaccination. Therefore, we need to take maximum safety precautions and limit our mobility. We all should work together to fight against the virus. I am ready, are you?