Nepal was under a second lockdown amidst a second wave of COVID-19 in April 2021. Although a few members of the Samaanta family caught COVID-19, thankfully no one has had serious symptoms. We continue to remain cautious, have managed to get the fellows vaccinated and hope for the safety and wellbeing of everyone around us. 

While a few fellows chose to go home, 21 fellows were staying in hostels in Kathmandu because they do not have access to internet facilities back home in their villages. Fellows are taking regular classes online, though this has not been easy because our fellows do not always have good internet connection and many fellows do not have laptops or smartphones. During the first lockdown in April 2020, we had to send all the fellows home and it was challenging for them to attend their online classes, therefore this time some of them decided to stay back and study from the hostel. 

Even during the lockdown, the fellows were keeping busy helping each other prepare for their exams and even trying to learn new skills every day. 9th cohort fellows were taking computer lessons from their seniors. Further, they organize quiz competitions, speech competitions, recite poems and watch documentaries to keep themselves engaged.

We are also pleased to report that many of our fellows teamed up with their hostel to prepare, package, and provide meals to needy community members who have lost their livelihoods during the pandemic. They always take their commitment to our values of service, leadership, and paying it forward very seriously, especially during these difficult times when so many are suffering.  

We would have expected to complete our selection of a new cohort of fellows by the end of June, but the selection was delayed due to the lockdown. The 10th grade (SEE) exams were delayed. The Examination Board managed to publish the SEE results at the end of July. We gathered nominations of candidates and completed administering written exams and interviews by July.