ActionAid Blog

Children in the UK are getting ready to go back to school excited, refreshed and full of energy after their summer break (their parents are probably quite relieved to be waving them off too!). Not so in Nepal. Nepal's school year starts in May, but with 30,000 classrooms destroyed and many schools still closed since the devastating earthquakes that struck earlier this year, going back to school isn’t as straightforward for children living in a country where people are trying to rebuild their lives.

One of 30,000 classrooms destroyed by the Nepal earthquakes, at a school in Kot Danda. The message on the blue board reads, "Welcome to our school".
One of 30,000 classrooms destroyed by the Nepal earthquakes, at a school in Kot Danda. The message on the blue board reads, "Welcome to our school".
Photo: ActionAid

Narayani wants a safe place to study

12-year-old Narayani is already back at school but says it's not the same anymore. She says: "I love going to school, because it takes my mind off things and I can focus on my dream of becoming a teacher. But since the earthquake, school has been really different.

As the funniest joke from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe has been revealed we share some of the jokes we’ve heard at the festival that really made us chuckle. If you didn't get the chance to catch Hardeep Singh Kohli's show ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ or Mark Watson's shows ‘Work in Progress’ and ‘Flaws’ in Edinburgh, they’ll be performing alongside other top comedians at our black-tie gala Comedy Clash on 17 November.

Gete Haile, 48, laughing with fellow members of the local women's cooperative, Ethiopia
Gete Haile, 48, laughing with fellow members of the local women's cooperative, Ethiopia
Photo: ,Greg Funnell/ActionAid

The funniest joke award goes to Darren Walsh

“I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It's Hans free.” Darren Walsh

Exactly one year ago today, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, ending the latest war in Gaza. The war claimed the lives of 2,251 Palestinians, 1,462 of whom were civilians and 551 were children. Six Israeli civilians and and 67 Israeli soldiers were also killed. More than 19,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

One year on, not a single one has been fully rebuilt, because only 5% of the construction materials sent to Gaza have been allowed through the blockade, meaning thousands have been left to live in makeshift tents or temporary accommodation. We're launching a global petition with Avaaz and over 30 aid organisations to call on world leaders to end the blockade, to bring hope to the 1.8 million people in Gaza and especially the 100,000 people who remain homeless. 

Ghalia, 59, is just one of those 100,000 people. We share her experience of hardship over the last year.​

Ghalia was made homeless in the 2014 war. She sits with her family in Al Shouka, Gaza.
Ghalia was made homeless in the 2014 war. She sits with her family in Al Shouka, Gaza.
Photo: Celia Peterson/ActionAid

Ghalia's kitchen is impeccable. Not one pot or pan sits out of place. Covered with canvas and tin sheets, the kitchen is one of a few small tents that have been her home since the summer war of 2014

Animals and livelihoods destroyed 

She remembers the time when she owned 14 sheep, as well as pigeons, rabbits and chickens, which gave an annual income of around 700USD. She lost all these animals in the bombing and shelling last year.

How much water do you need to survive? How many people don't have access to water? And what does that mean, anyway? These aren't questions we usually ask ourselves, even if magazines or tube announcements constantly remind us to 'stay hydrated'. But it's World Water Week, and everyone is talking about water. Here are four top facts you need to know about water, and how ActionAid is helping communities gain access to it. 

Wuya, 9, collects water from a local stream in Sierra Leone.
Wuya, 9, collects water from a local stream in Sierra Leone.
Photo: ,Greg Funnell/ActionAid

1. Access to clean water and sanitation is a human right

The UN has declared that access to clean water is a human right. But it's more than that - water is at the basis of other fundamental human rights too, like access to food and to education.

Ben Thomas is an ActionAid Local Organiser – part of our UK-wide network of campaigners that take action locally to tackle global poverty and injustice. Ben took our Fearless campaign to LeftFest - a local political festival in Southampton - to spread the word. Here’s how he got on, and why he’s campaigning for ActionAid.

Ben and Emily Fearless campaign at Leftfest
Ben (centre) and his wife Emily representing the Fearless campaign at LeftFest
Photo: Ben Thomas

Joining the ActionAid team has been an inspiring experience. On our recent training weekend we learned about the new Fearless campaign, and ActionAid's work on women's rights, and shared stories of brave women we know.

My ‘fearless women’ are from my wife’s family who stood up to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

As World Humanitarian Day on the 19th August shines a spotlight on those helping people in crisis, we wanted to celebrate ActionAid staff and volunteers from Nepal who jumped into action when the devastating earthquakes struck earlier this year.

From an amazing boy helping other kids cope, to an inspirational women defending women's rights - these are some of our humanitarian heroes from Nepal who've been leading the emergency response in their communities and beyond. We think they're pretty special. We hope you do too.

Malati, a women’s rights coordinator for ActionAid Nepal, with local women from Panga, Nepal
Malati, a women’s rights coordinator for ActionAid Nepal, with local women from Panga, Nepal
Photo: ,Srikanth Kolari/ActionAid

13-year-old Sumit is helping children recover from the trauma

Humanitarian heroes come in all ages and 13-year-old Sumit from Nepal is a huge inspiration to us. He was on his way home when the first earthquake struck, killing over 8,000 people. He said; “The earth began to shake and I felt so afraid… this was like nothing I’d ever known." Sumit found that a lot of the smaller children were scared too and had been struggling to overcome this fear.