I would like to invite you to contribute in compiling this digest. Contributions (both in Nepali and English) are welcome until 31 December 2017. All contributions will be duly acknowledged and appreciated.
The final version of this digest will be available online on the first week of 2018.
International Mental Health Conference Nepal 2018 (IMHCN2018) invites mental health and allied professionals, practitioners, researchers, academicians, NGOs, INGOs, service users, and students to contribute scientific papers, posters, or symposia related to the Conference Theme “Coming together for mental health” in the following areas:
Promotion of mental health
Prevention of mental illness
Treatment & Rehabilitation of people with mental illness
15 December is the deadline for the submission of abstracts. Just a week left!
Thousands of families and relatives of the missing persons all over the world continue to wait for their loved ones who have disappeared in course of armed conflict, disasters, migration or other events. They continue to live in ambiguity due to lack of accurate information. The ambiguous loss is one of the most painful, difficult loss to deal with as it is unclear and without closure.
In recent years, one of the major attempts to help Nepali migrants has been Safer Migration Project (SaMi), a bilateral initiative of the Governments of Nepal and Switzerland. HELVETAS Nepal and the Ministry of Labour and Employment are implementing the project at the district level in over 19 districts through local NGOs and government agencies. SaMi aims to promote safer and beneficial migration by helping migrants to be informed, skilled and safer in context of foreign employment. My interaction with colleagues and local people recently in Saptari and Dhading have indicated that SaMi project could produce some estimate of missing migrants that have been reported by the families in the Information and counseling centers (ICC).
Ms. Sanu Maya Aryal is a psychosocial counselor working in Chandrajyoti Integrated Development Society (CIDS) for Safer Migration (SaMi) project supported by Helvatas. She highlights the phenomenon of missing cases among migrant workers in Dhading district. In the last two years, they have helped over 411 migrants/their families in a comprehensive manner for safer migration. Out of 411, they have recorded 60 cases of still missing migrants and 14 cases have been solved which were initially recorded as missing. The families are completely unaware of whereabouts of their loved ones who have gone for foreign employment. She herself is familiar with an agony of having a missing family member as her father had disappeared during an armed conflict.
Ms. Aryal says, “Definitely this issue of missing migrants has not received an adequate attention on the national level, I can say there are many unreported cases of missing migrants. I have been to places in Dhading where people do not speak Nepali, are illiterate and so poor (lack resources) that they cannot report the case of disappearance to the authorities or NGOs. One of the major challenges while coming across such cases is lack of proper documents with the family. They show us the photograph of a person which is like 7-8 years old and creates difficult for identification of the person.”
She recalls, “ It is a very challenging task to search for missing migrants. And sometimes, even when the person is helped to reestablish family relations, an unfortunate event can take place. It is not a happy ending. There was one case in which a female migrant had lost contact with family for over 5 years. The family reported her as missing and after much efforts, she was rescued back to Nepal. She had suffered as housemaid and had been traumatized. Upon her return, she was further traumatized when she came to know that her husband had remarried and she had little means to support her two children. She ultimately committed suicide.”
Migration is one of the major national issues with migrant population contributing to over one third of national GDP through remittance. Nepal is one of the countries with highly remittance-dependent economy in the world. It has been major force in improving economic conditions of majority of Nepali despite decades of political instability and pace of extremely slow development. It is important to note that it brought about many significant economic and social changes. The government of Nepal, concerned departments and related agencies should pay proper attention to migrants in general and also to the issue of missing migrants and their families.
Expressing solidarity with families of missing persons (in conflict and migration) on International Day of the Disappeared.
If some of you (voluntarily or in some organizational capacity) are interested for MHPSS response in flood and landslides affected regions of Nepal, then, kindly coordinate with Protection Cluster Nepal led by Department of Women and Children of Nepal government which is coordinating the efforts between different agencies and trying to facilitate the best ways to reach the most affected as soon as possible.
I would also like to share some resource which might be useful:
IFRC toolbox: Key Actions for Psychosocial Support in Flooding
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (2015). Nepal Earthquakes 2015: Desk Review of Existing Information with Relevance to Mental Health and Psychosocial Support; Kathmandu, Nepal.
Dr. Kulanand Lal Das (Born 5th January 1940) is a retired educational psychologist of Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He completed his PhD from Patna University, India (1984) and did his dissertation on “Accountability in Education with special reference to Nepal”. Earlier than that he received Fulbright Scholarship and completed his MA in Education from University of Northern Iowa (UNI), United States (1969). He served in Tribhuvan University for over two decades and served most of his time in Thakur Ram Campus, Birgunj where he also introduced educational psychology for the first time. He was recipient of several high national honors such as Mahendra Vidya Bhushan, Nepal (1986), Dirgha Sewa Padak, Tribhuvan University (1996) and Shiksha Padak, Education Ministry (2001).
He recalls he came across the field of psychology while doing B.Ed. (1963-64) at College of Education (TU), Lazimpat, Kathmandu. At that time, educational psychology was taught as a subject in B.Ed. only in College of Education, Lazimpat; Trichandra College, Kathmandu and Mahendra Morang Campus, Biratnagar. Due to scarce human resource with specialization in educational psychology, it was not taught in any other campuses.
He decided to choose psychology as a core subject while doing M.A. in Education at University of Northern Iowa in 1967. Once he came back to Nepal, he started teaching Educational Psychology as a subject under B.Ed. at TRC, Birgunj (1971). Earlier, this subject was not taught at TRC, Birgunj. TRC, Birgunj was the thid campus after TU, Kathmandu and Mahendra Morang campus, Biratnagar where B.Ed. degree was introduced. He taught psychology to the B.Ed. and M.Ed. students in TRC, Birgunj. Now educational psychology is being taught in I.Ed., B.Ed. and M.Ed. in several other private colleges in Birgunj.
From mid 1970s, District Education Offices started sending Primary and Secondary level teachers for Teachers’ Training to Institute of Education in Birgunj. In those trainings, educational psychology used to be a core subject. The training aimed in developing knowledge and hands-on skills of teachers on psychological dealing of issues of students. Later, the Institute of Education in Birgunj was merged with TRC in Birgunj, therefore, all the trainings also started being delivered by TRC in the region. He remembers joint efforts with Panna Lal Pradhan and Ayan Bahadur Shrestha, senior psychologists in introducing educational psychology in education sector of Nepal.
Note: Thanks to Manish Das and Ava Lal for their support.