The Nepalese Red Cross is helping thousands of people in Kathmandu learn first aid, as a part of a wider programme to help them prepare for and recover from earthquakes.
First aid skills will be vital when an earthquake happens in Kathmandu, as huge numbers of injuries are expected and the emergency services will struggle to cope.
But the training is already saving lives – thanks to people like Nisha Maharjan, who stepped in to help when a baby nearly drowned near her home.
Nisha, a stallholder from the Lalitpur area of the city, had taken a free four-day Red Cross course where she learned how to deal with problems including broken bones, bleeding and shock.
Putting her training into action, she rushed to help when a neighbour’s one-year-old son was rescued from the water.
Nisha, 26, said: “We heard his parents crying. The baby was conscious but shivering.”
When Nisha reached baby Nani, she put him in a position that helped him cough up the water still in his body.
She also got Nani out of his wet clothes and wrapped in a dry shawl, and made sure his parents lit a fire to warm the boy up safely. Finally, she asked the parents to take their son to the doctor for a full check-up.
Proud to make a difference
Nisha is proud to have put her skills to good use. She says: “One year later I met the mother and baby again. The mother thanked me for saving the life of her son.”
The first aid courses, supported by the British Red Cross, are part of the Kathmandu earthquake preparedness scheme – a partnership between the Red Cross, the Nepalese government and other organisations.