Courageous teen crafts rescue to save mother and her baby
PATNA, Bihar, 11 October 2017 -
On a terrible day in August this year, when the village of Kathal Babnaha in Darbhanga district of Bihar was battling floods, most adults were paralysed by fear and indecision while a pregnant woman went into labour. As the would-be-mother lay burning with high fever and writhing in pain, she found a champion in 14-year-old Nunu Kumari.
Nunu gathered her courage and convinced the village elders that the pregnant woman needed immediate medical attention and it would be unsafe for her to give birth in a makeshift tent. But the Kosi river had already flooded its embankment on August 14, and now three days later the situation was even worse. The rising river water had cut off all access from the village to the nearest Primary Health Centre (PHC) that was just a kilometre away.
But this did not deter Nunu, a DRR Champion of the UNICEF-supported School Safety Programme. She, along with a few friends, started building a raft from stems of banana plants.
“Marooned in the floods, this came handy as no rescue boats were available nearby. I and two of my friends, also members of the School Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), as well as two adults took the would-be-mother to the health centre on our banana boat. The Auxiliary Nurse Midwife didi at the PHC was surprised to see us,” remembers Nunu.
Thanks to Nunu’s quick thinking and resourcefulness, the pregnant woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The mother and child were taken back home to their village by the courageous Nunu and her friends, who received a tremendous amount of praise for their heroic act.
Nunu credits her ingenuity and bravery to the training that she received at school. “All this would not have been possible had we not been trained in contributing to the process of risk reduction during floods and earthquakes as part of the UNICEF’s School Safety Programme,” she says.
This isn’t the first time that Nunu has put her learning to good use. Some time ago, she and a friend rescued three girls who had been bathing in the Kosi river but became caught in the current. “While my friend jumped into the river to rescue one of the girls, I raised an alarm to get the attention of nearby people, who pulled out the other two girls. The first-aid training I received through UNICEF came in handy and enabled me to save the life of the girls,” says Nunu.
The happy and cheerful girl has found a lot of support from her parents, who encourage her to attend trainings. Unlike other girls in the village who are at times compelled to stay at home and look after their siblings or graze cattle, Nunu attends school regularly and is free to pursue her choices. She has been an active member of the School Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) of her Middle School in Kiratpur. Though Nunu has graduated to Class 9 this year and is studying at the High School now, she is still promoting safety in her school actively.
Nunu aspires to be a teacher so that she can influence and change other children like her to be better prepared to deal with disasters and save many more lives. Well, she seems to have made an impressive start by teaching by example.