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A selection of stories from across the Federation

Humanitarian response team, Fiji.
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In pictures: Humanitarian photographers share their experiences of storytelling in the field

IPPF’s localized approach to humanitarian emergencies is led by our Member Associations' response teams and whenever possible, we deploy local photographers.

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IPPF volunteer in Nepal for FPAN
story

| 25 July 2017

Female volunteers take the lead to deliver life critical health advice after the earthquake

“After the earthquake, there were so many problems. So many homes were destroyed. People are still living in temporary homes because they’re unable to rebuild their homes.” Pasang Tamang lives in Gatlang, high up in the mountains of northern Nepal, 15 kilometres from the Tibetan border. It is a sublimely beautiful village of traditional three-storied houses and Buddhist shrines resting on the slopes of a mountain and thronged by lush potato fields. The 2000 or so people living here are ethnic Tamang, a people of strong cultural traditions, who live across across Nepal but particularly in the lands bordering Tibet. The earthquake of 25 April had a devastating impact on Gatlang. Most of the traditional houses in the heart of the village were damaged or destroyed, and people were forced to move into small shacks of corrugated iron and plastic, where many still live. “Seven people died and three were injured and then later died,” says Pasang. These numbers might seems small compared to some casualty numbers in Nepal, but in a tightknit village like Gatlang, the impact was felt keenly. Hundreds of people were forced into tents. “People suffered badly from the cold,” Pasang says. “Some people caught pneumonia.” At 2240 metres above sea level, nighttime temperatures in Gatlang can plunge.  Pregnant women fared particularly badly: “They were unable to access nutritious food or find a warm place. They really suffered.” Pasang herself was badly injured. “During the earthquake, I was asleep in the house because I was ill,” she says. “When I felt the earthquake, I ran out of the house and while I was running I got injured, and my mouth was damaged.” Help was at hand . “After the earthquake, there were so many organisations that came to help, including FPAN,” Pasang says. As well as setting up health camps and providing a range of health care, “they provided family planning devices to people who were in need.” Hundreds of families still live in the corrugated iron and plastic sheds that were erected as a replacement for tents. The government has been slow to distribute funds, and the villagers say that any money they have received falls far short of the cost of rebuilding their old stone homes. Pasang’s house stands empty. “We will not be able to return home because the house is cracked and if there was another earthquake, it would be completely destroyed,” she says. Since the earthquake, she has begun working as a volunteer for FPAN. Her role involves travelling around villages in the area, raising awareness about different contraceptive methods and family planning. Volunteers like Pasang perform a crucial function in a region where literacy levels and a strongly patriarchal culture mean that women marry young and have to get consent from their husbands before using contraception. In this remote community, direct contact with a volunteer who can offer advice and guidance orally, and talk to women about their broader health needs, is absolutely vital.

IPPF volunteer in Nepal for FPAN
story

| 27 May 2022

Female volunteers take the lead to deliver life critical health advice after the earthquake

“After the earthquake, there were so many problems. So many homes were destroyed. People are still living in temporary homes because they’re unable to rebuild their homes.” Pasang Tamang lives in Gatlang, high up in the mountains of northern Nepal, 15 kilometres from the Tibetan border. It is a sublimely beautiful village of traditional three-storied houses and Buddhist shrines resting on the slopes of a mountain and thronged by lush potato fields. The 2000 or so people living here are ethnic Tamang, a people of strong cultural traditions, who live across across Nepal but particularly in the lands bordering Tibet. The earthquake of 25 April had a devastating impact on Gatlang. Most of the traditional houses in the heart of the village were damaged or destroyed, and people were forced to move into small shacks of corrugated iron and plastic, where many still live. “Seven people died and three were injured and then later died,” says Pasang. These numbers might seems small compared to some casualty numbers in Nepal, but in a tightknit village like Gatlang, the impact was felt keenly. Hundreds of people were forced into tents. “People suffered badly from the cold,” Pasang says. “Some people caught pneumonia.” At 2240 metres above sea level, nighttime temperatures in Gatlang can plunge.  Pregnant women fared particularly badly: “They were unable to access nutritious food or find a warm place. They really suffered.” Pasang herself was badly injured. “During the earthquake, I was asleep in the house because I was ill,” she says. “When I felt the earthquake, I ran out of the house and while I was running I got injured, and my mouth was damaged.” Help was at hand . “After the earthquake, there were so many organisations that came to help, including FPAN,” Pasang says. As well as setting up health camps and providing a range of health care, “they provided family planning devices to people who were in need.” Hundreds of families still live in the corrugated iron and plastic sheds that were erected as a replacement for tents. The government has been slow to distribute funds, and the villagers say that any money they have received falls far short of the cost of rebuilding their old stone homes. Pasang’s house stands empty. “We will not be able to return home because the house is cracked and if there was another earthquake, it would be completely destroyed,” she says. Since the earthquake, she has begun working as a volunteer for FPAN. Her role involves travelling around villages in the area, raising awareness about different contraceptive methods and family planning. Volunteers like Pasang perform a crucial function in a region where literacy levels and a strongly patriarchal culture mean that women marry young and have to get consent from their husbands before using contraception. In this remote community, direct contact with a volunteer who can offer advice and guidance orally, and talk to women about their broader health needs, is absolutely vital.

Young nepalese volunteer from IPPF in Nepal, FPAN
story

| 25 July 2017

Thousands of young volunteers join us after the earthquake

The April 2015 earthquake in Nepal brought death and devastation to thousands of people – from which many are still recovering. But there was one positive outcome: after the earthquake, thousands of young people came forward to support those affected as volunteers. For Rita Tukanbanjar, a twenty-two-year-old nurse from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, the earthquake was an eye-opening ordeal: it gave her first-hand experience of the different ways that natural disasters can affect people, particularly women and girls. “After the earthquake, FPAN was organising menstrual hygiene classes for affected people, and I took part in these,” she says. The earthquake severely affected people’s access to healthcare, but women and girls were particularly vulnerable: living in tents can make menstrual hygiene difficult, and most aid agencies tend to neglect these needs and forget to factor them into relief efforts. “After the earthquake, lots of people were living in tents, as most of the houses had collapsed,” Rita says. “During that time, the girls, especially, were facing a lot of problems maintaining their menstrual hygiene. All the shops and services for menstrual hygiene were closed.” This makes FPAN’s work even more vital. The organisation stepped into the breach and organised classes on menstrual hygiene and taught women and girls how to make sanitary pads from scratch. This was not only useful during the earthquake, but provided valuable knowledge for women and girls to use in normal life too, Rita says: “From that time on wards, women are still making their own sanitary pads.” In an impoverished country like Nepal, many women and girls can simply not afford to buy sanitary pads and tampons. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with gross domestic product per capita of just $691 in 2014. In this largely patriarchal culture, the needs of women often come low down in a family’s priorities. “This is very important work and very useful,” Rita says. The women and girls also learned about how to protect themselves from sexual violence, which saw a surge in the weeks after the earthquake, with men preying on people living in tents and temporary shacks. Rita and her family lived in a tent for 20 days. “There was always the fear of getting abused,” she says. Eventually they managed to return home to live in the ruins of their house: “one part was undamaged so we covered it with a tent and managed to sleep there, on the ground floor.” Seeing the suffering the earthquake had caused, and the work FPAN and other organisations were doing to alleviate it, cemented Rita’s decision to begin volunteering. “After the earthquake, when things got back to normal, I joined FPAN.” She also completed her nursing degree, which had been interrupted by the disaster. “Since joining FPAN, I have been very busy creating awareness about sexual rights and all kinds of things, and running Friday sexual education classes in schools,” Rita says. “And since I have a nursing background, people often come to me with problems, and I give them suggestions and share my knowledge with them.” She also hopes to become a staff nurse for FPAN. “If that opportunity comes my way, then I would definitely love to do it,” she says.

Young nepalese volunteer from IPPF in Nepal, FPAN
story

| 27 May 2022

Thousands of young volunteers join us after the earthquake

The April 2015 earthquake in Nepal brought death and devastation to thousands of people – from which many are still recovering. But there was one positive outcome: after the earthquake, thousands of young people came forward to support those affected as volunteers. For Rita Tukanbanjar, a twenty-two-year-old nurse from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, the earthquake was an eye-opening ordeal: it gave her first-hand experience of the different ways that natural disasters can affect people, particularly women and girls. “After the earthquake, FPAN was organising menstrual hygiene classes for affected people, and I took part in these,” she says. The earthquake severely affected people’s access to healthcare, but women and girls were particularly vulnerable: living in tents can make menstrual hygiene difficult, and most aid agencies tend to neglect these needs and forget to factor them into relief efforts. “After the earthquake, lots of people were living in tents, as most of the houses had collapsed,” Rita says. “During that time, the girls, especially, were facing a lot of problems maintaining their menstrual hygiene. All the shops and services for menstrual hygiene were closed.” This makes FPAN’s work even more vital. The organisation stepped into the breach and organised classes on menstrual hygiene and taught women and girls how to make sanitary pads from scratch. This was not only useful during the earthquake, but provided valuable knowledge for women and girls to use in normal life too, Rita says: “From that time on wards, women are still making their own sanitary pads.” In an impoverished country like Nepal, many women and girls can simply not afford to buy sanitary pads and tampons. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with gross domestic product per capita of just $691 in 2014. In this largely patriarchal culture, the needs of women often come low down in a family’s priorities. “This is very important work and very useful,” Rita says. The women and girls also learned about how to protect themselves from sexual violence, which saw a surge in the weeks after the earthquake, with men preying on people living in tents and temporary shacks. Rita and her family lived in a tent for 20 days. “There was always the fear of getting abused,” she says. Eventually they managed to return home to live in the ruins of their house: “one part was undamaged so we covered it with a tent and managed to sleep there, on the ground floor.” Seeing the suffering the earthquake had caused, and the work FPAN and other organisations were doing to alleviate it, cemented Rita’s decision to begin volunteering. “After the earthquake, when things got back to normal, I joined FPAN.” She also completed her nursing degree, which had been interrupted by the disaster. “Since joining FPAN, I have been very busy creating awareness about sexual rights and all kinds of things, and running Friday sexual education classes in schools,” Rita says. “And since I have a nursing background, people often come to me with problems, and I give them suggestions and share my knowledge with them.” She also hopes to become a staff nurse for FPAN. “If that opportunity comes my way, then I would definitely love to do it,” she says.

IPPF volunteer in Nepal for FPAN
story

| 25 July 2017

Female volunteers take the lead to deliver life critical health advice after the earthquake

“After the earthquake, there were so many problems. So many homes were destroyed. People are still living in temporary homes because they’re unable to rebuild their homes.” Pasang Tamang lives in Gatlang, high up in the mountains of northern Nepal, 15 kilometres from the Tibetan border. It is a sublimely beautiful village of traditional three-storied houses and Buddhist shrines resting on the slopes of a mountain and thronged by lush potato fields. The 2000 or so people living here are ethnic Tamang, a people of strong cultural traditions, who live across across Nepal but particularly in the lands bordering Tibet. The earthquake of 25 April had a devastating impact on Gatlang. Most of the traditional houses in the heart of the village were damaged or destroyed, and people were forced to move into small shacks of corrugated iron and plastic, where many still live. “Seven people died and three were injured and then later died,” says Pasang. These numbers might seems small compared to some casualty numbers in Nepal, but in a tightknit village like Gatlang, the impact was felt keenly. Hundreds of people were forced into tents. “People suffered badly from the cold,” Pasang says. “Some people caught pneumonia.” At 2240 metres above sea level, nighttime temperatures in Gatlang can plunge.  Pregnant women fared particularly badly: “They were unable to access nutritious food or find a warm place. They really suffered.” Pasang herself was badly injured. “During the earthquake, I was asleep in the house because I was ill,” she says. “When I felt the earthquake, I ran out of the house and while I was running I got injured, and my mouth was damaged.” Help was at hand . “After the earthquake, there were so many organisations that came to help, including FPAN,” Pasang says. As well as setting up health camps and providing a range of health care, “they provided family planning devices to people who were in need.” Hundreds of families still live in the corrugated iron and plastic sheds that were erected as a replacement for tents. The government has been slow to distribute funds, and the villagers say that any money they have received falls far short of the cost of rebuilding their old stone homes. Pasang’s house stands empty. “We will not be able to return home because the house is cracked and if there was another earthquake, it would be completely destroyed,” she says. Since the earthquake, she has begun working as a volunteer for FPAN. Her role involves travelling around villages in the area, raising awareness about different contraceptive methods and family planning. Volunteers like Pasang perform a crucial function in a region where literacy levels and a strongly patriarchal culture mean that women marry young and have to get consent from their husbands before using contraception. In this remote community, direct contact with a volunteer who can offer advice and guidance orally, and talk to women about their broader health needs, is absolutely vital.

IPPF volunteer in Nepal for FPAN
story

| 27 May 2022

Female volunteers take the lead to deliver life critical health advice after the earthquake

“After the earthquake, there were so many problems. So many homes were destroyed. People are still living in temporary homes because they’re unable to rebuild their homes.” Pasang Tamang lives in Gatlang, high up in the mountains of northern Nepal, 15 kilometres from the Tibetan border. It is a sublimely beautiful village of traditional three-storied houses and Buddhist shrines resting on the slopes of a mountain and thronged by lush potato fields. The 2000 or so people living here are ethnic Tamang, a people of strong cultural traditions, who live across across Nepal but particularly in the lands bordering Tibet. The earthquake of 25 April had a devastating impact on Gatlang. Most of the traditional houses in the heart of the village were damaged or destroyed, and people were forced to move into small shacks of corrugated iron and plastic, where many still live. “Seven people died and three were injured and then later died,” says Pasang. These numbers might seems small compared to some casualty numbers in Nepal, but in a tightknit village like Gatlang, the impact was felt keenly. Hundreds of people were forced into tents. “People suffered badly from the cold,” Pasang says. “Some people caught pneumonia.” At 2240 metres above sea level, nighttime temperatures in Gatlang can plunge.  Pregnant women fared particularly badly: “They were unable to access nutritious food or find a warm place. They really suffered.” Pasang herself was badly injured. “During the earthquake, I was asleep in the house because I was ill,” she says. “When I felt the earthquake, I ran out of the house and while I was running I got injured, and my mouth was damaged.” Help was at hand . “After the earthquake, there were so many organisations that came to help, including FPAN,” Pasang says. As well as setting up health camps and providing a range of health care, “they provided family planning devices to people who were in need.” Hundreds of families still live in the corrugated iron and plastic sheds that were erected as a replacement for tents. The government has been slow to distribute funds, and the villagers say that any money they have received falls far short of the cost of rebuilding their old stone homes. Pasang’s house stands empty. “We will not be able to return home because the house is cracked and if there was another earthquake, it would be completely destroyed,” she says. Since the earthquake, she has begun working as a volunteer for FPAN. Her role involves travelling around villages in the area, raising awareness about different contraceptive methods and family planning. Volunteers like Pasang perform a crucial function in a region where literacy levels and a strongly patriarchal culture mean that women marry young and have to get consent from their husbands before using contraception. In this remote community, direct contact with a volunteer who can offer advice and guidance orally, and talk to women about their broader health needs, is absolutely vital.

Young nepalese volunteer from IPPF in Nepal, FPAN
story

| 25 July 2017

Thousands of young volunteers join us after the earthquake

The April 2015 earthquake in Nepal brought death and devastation to thousands of people – from which many are still recovering. But there was one positive outcome: after the earthquake, thousands of young people came forward to support those affected as volunteers. For Rita Tukanbanjar, a twenty-two-year-old nurse from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, the earthquake was an eye-opening ordeal: it gave her first-hand experience of the different ways that natural disasters can affect people, particularly women and girls. “After the earthquake, FPAN was organising menstrual hygiene classes for affected people, and I took part in these,” she says. The earthquake severely affected people’s access to healthcare, but women and girls were particularly vulnerable: living in tents can make menstrual hygiene difficult, and most aid agencies tend to neglect these needs and forget to factor them into relief efforts. “After the earthquake, lots of people were living in tents, as most of the houses had collapsed,” Rita says. “During that time, the girls, especially, were facing a lot of problems maintaining their menstrual hygiene. All the shops and services for menstrual hygiene were closed.” This makes FPAN’s work even more vital. The organisation stepped into the breach and organised classes on menstrual hygiene and taught women and girls how to make sanitary pads from scratch. This was not only useful during the earthquake, but provided valuable knowledge for women and girls to use in normal life too, Rita says: “From that time on wards, women are still making their own sanitary pads.” In an impoverished country like Nepal, many women and girls can simply not afford to buy sanitary pads and tampons. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with gross domestic product per capita of just $691 in 2014. In this largely patriarchal culture, the needs of women often come low down in a family’s priorities. “This is very important work and very useful,” Rita says. The women and girls also learned about how to protect themselves from sexual violence, which saw a surge in the weeks after the earthquake, with men preying on people living in tents and temporary shacks. Rita and her family lived in a tent for 20 days. “There was always the fear of getting abused,” she says. Eventually they managed to return home to live in the ruins of their house: “one part was undamaged so we covered it with a tent and managed to sleep there, on the ground floor.” Seeing the suffering the earthquake had caused, and the work FPAN and other organisations were doing to alleviate it, cemented Rita’s decision to begin volunteering. “After the earthquake, when things got back to normal, I joined FPAN.” She also completed her nursing degree, which had been interrupted by the disaster. “Since joining FPAN, I have been very busy creating awareness about sexual rights and all kinds of things, and running Friday sexual education classes in schools,” Rita says. “And since I have a nursing background, people often come to me with problems, and I give them suggestions and share my knowledge with them.” She also hopes to become a staff nurse for FPAN. “If that opportunity comes my way, then I would definitely love to do it,” she says.

Young nepalese volunteer from IPPF in Nepal, FPAN
story

| 27 May 2022

Thousands of young volunteers join us after the earthquake

The April 2015 earthquake in Nepal brought death and devastation to thousands of people – from which many are still recovering. But there was one positive outcome: after the earthquake, thousands of young people came forward to support those affected as volunteers. For Rita Tukanbanjar, a twenty-two-year-old nurse from Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, the earthquake was an eye-opening ordeal: it gave her first-hand experience of the different ways that natural disasters can affect people, particularly women and girls. “After the earthquake, FPAN was organising menstrual hygiene classes for affected people, and I took part in these,” she says. The earthquake severely affected people’s access to healthcare, but women and girls were particularly vulnerable: living in tents can make menstrual hygiene difficult, and most aid agencies tend to neglect these needs and forget to factor them into relief efforts. “After the earthquake, lots of people were living in tents, as most of the houses had collapsed,” Rita says. “During that time, the girls, especially, were facing a lot of problems maintaining their menstrual hygiene. All the shops and services for menstrual hygiene were closed.” This makes FPAN’s work even more vital. The organisation stepped into the breach and organised classes on menstrual hygiene and taught women and girls how to make sanitary pads from scratch. This was not only useful during the earthquake, but provided valuable knowledge for women and girls to use in normal life too, Rita says: “From that time on wards, women are still making their own sanitary pads.” In an impoverished country like Nepal, many women and girls can simply not afford to buy sanitary pads and tampons. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with gross domestic product per capita of just $691 in 2014. In this largely patriarchal culture, the needs of women often come low down in a family’s priorities. “This is very important work and very useful,” Rita says. The women and girls also learned about how to protect themselves from sexual violence, which saw a surge in the weeks after the earthquake, with men preying on people living in tents and temporary shacks. Rita and her family lived in a tent for 20 days. “There was always the fear of getting abused,” she says. Eventually they managed to return home to live in the ruins of their house: “one part was undamaged so we covered it with a tent and managed to sleep there, on the ground floor.” Seeing the suffering the earthquake had caused, and the work FPAN and other organisations were doing to alleviate it, cemented Rita’s decision to begin volunteering. “After the earthquake, when things got back to normal, I joined FPAN.” She also completed her nursing degree, which had been interrupted by the disaster. “Since joining FPAN, I have been very busy creating awareness about sexual rights and all kinds of things, and running Friday sexual education classes in schools,” Rita says. “And since I have a nursing background, people often come to me with problems, and I give them suggestions and share my knowledge with them.” She also hopes to become a staff nurse for FPAN. “If that opportunity comes my way, then I would definitely love to do it,” she says.