2015-2023: 8 years on, what has become of Sandesh who lost both legs in the earthquake?
Sandesh was only a teenager when he lost both of his legs in the earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015. Since then, HI teams have been supporting him as he rebuilds his life.
© Amul Thapa / HI
A group of Nepalese students walk arm in arm along the paths of a park in Kathmandu. They sit down on the grass and open their computers. They are, they hope, Nepal’s future computer programming "hotshots". Among them, a young man, is smiling broadly. His name is Sandesh. He is 21 years old. His boyish cheeks have disappeared and he now sports a moustache. But his eyes sparkle with the same enthusiasm as when he tried on his very first pair of prostheses at the HI-supported rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu several years ago.
Sandesh is a survivor of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Eight years on, HI is still at his side.
"The boarding school wall collapsed onto my shoulders and legs"
25 April 2015. Sandesh was a teenager like any other. When he was not studying, he was playing "Ludo", his favourite board game, with his classmates. That day it was almost noon and Sandesh was on his lunch break. Suddenly, everything around him began to shake.
His friends quickly moved him to safety. Eight years later, he remembers everything: arriving at the emergency room, the extreme pain, the tension of the medical staff, the voices of his friends, some of them lying injured next to him. He says he thought of his mother, who was living in a village about 40 minutes from Kathmandu at the time. Is she safe? Does she even know that I am in hospital? Fortunately, Sandesh's entire family was safe.
He was severely injured. Both of his legs had to be amputated. After many weeks of convalescence, Sandesh arrived at the HI-supported rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu. His older sister, to whom he is very close, accompanied him to his very first rehabilitation session.
January 2016, HI-supported rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu. Sandesh remembers that he had to be quick that day because he had a class right after the appointment with the medical teams.
“The rehab centre changed my life”
April 2023. Today, when he arrives at the rehabilitation centre, Sandesh feels at home. He knows the procedure by heart. He carefully removes his old prostheses, then the protection for his stumps, and tries on his new ones. He has just received his fifth pair of prostheses.
Under the watchful eye of Ram, the prosthetist, he stands up and takes a few steps. Ram takes the time to adjust the height of his new devices, tightening and loosening the various screws so that they are as comfortable as possible. The teams at the centre have accompanied him through every stage of his rehabilitation.
Better disaster preparedness to reduce the risks
The violent earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 left 8,000 people dead and over 22,000 injured. HI's teams, who have been working in Nepal since 2000, launched an emergency response to assist the victims.
Pauline Nadim Ducos is the Regional Director of the India, Nepal and Sri Lanka Programme (INNESKA):