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Scottish charity EMMS International is today launching its Every Girl Matters campaign to improve healthcare in rural Nepal and help young girls continue in education.
The campaign is backed by the UK government which will match all donations from the public, pound for pound.
EMMS International is a Christian international healthcare charity, based in Edinburgh, which was founded in 1841. It counts Dr David Livingstone among its earliest members, and today delivers healthcare projects in Nepal, Malawi and India.
Chronic sickness in rural Nepal causes unnecessary pain and suffering and places a huge burden of care on young girls. Girls like Sunita, who left school after both her mother and father became ill and were unable to care for themselves. EMMS International is calling on the public to support the campaign and give girls like Sunita a chance to fulfil their aspirations by returning to school, safe in the knowledge that her loved ones are receiving the care they need.
The project will extend quality palliative care and access to essential pain relief to 20,000 families in rural Nepal. With their loved ones well cared for, 1,646 young carers can return to school and enjoy the hope education brings for them and their communities.
Dr Cathy Ratcliff, CEO and Director of International Programmes, EMMS International: ‘Every girl matters and their education is a human right. But it’s also a joy, a means to understand the world; and it leads to better opportunities, increased independence and improved self-esteem. This campaign and match funding from the UK government, give us all an opportunity to release girls and other young carers in Nepal from the burden of care.
‘Through the work of EMMS International, I have come across women who, because of the education they have received, are confident and thriving in life, love and happiness. This project restores such opportunities through protecting girls’ education and giving more women the opportunity to gain specialist healthcare training.’
Baroness Sugg CBE, Minister for Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), said: ‘The obstacles to girls enjoying the full potential of primary and secondary education are numerous and often complicated. As such, they can often require complex interventions to overcome and remove these barriers. EMMS International and its partners in Nepal know from experience that excessive caring responsibilities deny girls in Nepal the opportunity to enjoy school and the opportunities it gives for the future.
‘The UK government is pleased to partner with them by matching generous public donations pound for pound, so that young carers can return to school safe in the knowledge that their loved ones are getting the quality care they deserve.’
The campaign was launched in an online event featuring the opening of a new EMMS-funded palliative care centre for excellence in Pokhara, Nepal, which will also be the base for this new three-year project. Professor Jason Leitch, Scottish Government National Clinical Director, said at the event: ‘We’ve seen this year how vital quality healthcare is in securing not only our physical well being but also our ability to go to school, go to work and spend time with our families. Yet this current global pandemic is not the only challenge that we or countries like Nepal face.
‘The Every Girl Matters appeal gives you and me the opportunity to help girls in Nepal to free themselves from the burden of care, restoring each girl’s opportunity to fulfil her potential and to thrive.’
The launch ceremony is at 2pm today and can be viewed at www.emms.org/launch where it will remain up on the page afterwards. You can also visit www.facebook.com/emmsinternational and the charity’s YouTube channel.