Assessing needs of international Nepalese students – Demand of time in crisis

Melbourne CBD as seen from Parliament Station.

An opinion by Subesh Panta

An unprecedented situation has destabilized the livelihood of thousands of international students in Australia.  Alternative action and flexible steps towards analysing the current basic needs of those who are, and will be placed in the catastrophic zones is important – to avert a situation wherein they are deprived of access to basic shelter and essential nutrition.

If an effective intervention is not taken in the right time, international students will be vulnerable, further increasing their chances towards contracting the deadly disease – for example, what if a student becomes homeless, and has to seek shelter in the streets? Urgency from stakeholders, community organizations and government agencies is the need of the hour towards taking effective actions.

Students who are thinking of their next step, and their associated survival strategy are under undue mental pressure – which could render them incapable to fight against the immediate crisis in hand. Right now, focus should be diverted towards changing livelihood patterns. The focus should be on immediate survival via sustainable use of available resources and leaving the rest in the hands of higher-level authorities who are trying to control the situation.

During times of crisis, history has provided us with evidence that those who are socio-economically disadvantaged are the ones most affected. International students, despite of their family situation in their home country, are likely to be most affected as their reliance upon casual/part time jobs is immense towards sustaining themselves in Australia.  Available of nutritious food comes in the first place of supplement. Therefore, it is necessary to categorize the student by the organizations who are unable to meet daily nutritional requirements.

Stage 1: How to categorize the student in respect to access of food?

Student Food Assessments, SFA’s

Eligibility Criteria Coverage Method of Distribution Developing Monitoring System Termination
Insufficient economic access  





3 meals per day





Door to door/Nearby community Organization/ local Council




Continuously looking after targeted population according to the eligibility criteria whether the objectives have been delivered or not



Unless connected with new method of survival

Living alone with no societal relation
Recently Arrived and living in self-isolation Coming to an end of self-isolation and mostly have societal circle to support
Jobless from at least 2 weeks  

Access to casual work

Running in a weekly basis

Note: Changes may vary according to need

Despite the reality of their family situation in home country, Australian based Nepali students have recently lost their only small supplementary income due to the emergence of restricted rules and closure of workplaces. It then makes it incredibly difficult for students to sustain themselves for a week or even a day without being able to access any supplementary income. Food and shelter should be the first layer of support at this time for students who need immediate support and understanding.

About the Author: 
Subesh Panta is an international student from Nepal in Australia, and has recently completed his Masters of Social Work with Federation University in Ballarat. 
The views expressed in the article are of the author, and do not reflect the editorial stance of Nepalese Voice.