It has been an extremely difficult time for Nepal, first with the massive earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April and 12th May 2015, and most recently the blockade from September 23, 2015. This has severely affected the economy of Nepal as well as all aspects of life. We faced an acute shortage of fuel, cooking gas, essential medicines and goods and still are. Adding to this is the power outage of almost 14 hours a day. Inspite of all these difficult time, people are travelling on the roofs of the vehicles taking risks on a daily basis and trying to make a semblance and balance.
This has made our work difficult but has not affected Tewa and Nagarik Aawaz's mission of working to rebuild communities after the earthquake. The work of Shadow Barefoot Volunteers - Hamro Tewa Gaun Ghar Ma and Building Lives and Inspiring Hopes are ongoing. Tewa has deployed volunteers in 6 different earthquake affected districts and the feedback received from the community is gratifying. The Building lives Inspiring Hopes led by Nagarik Aawaz with the youth psycho social volunteers is ongoing in 5 districts and a much needed program. Field visits have been made by Board, members and staff on a regular basis as well as multi stakeholder meetings and the community has acknowledged the importance of both the programs and the uniqueness of them.
Lumari of Sindhupalchowk is the community teacher of disabled children, who himself is also visually impaired. Tewa volunteers helped him construct 15 houses of corrugated sheets for 45 physically challenged children. Lumaril is helping these children to study and supporting them with food. Our HTG volunteers teach the children everyday for an hour or two about morals, values culture and boost their self confidence.
In Jharuwarashi, Lalitpur, Tewa led HTG volunteers have been busy supporting the community in the rebuilding activities. They have supported Yosodha , 35, who is a single woman neglected by her family, by helping her build a temporary shelter. The volunteers will be engaging her and other disadvantaged women for a tailoring training since there is high demand and interest from the community. This will give them some bare minimum sustenance as well as boost their self confidence. 15 women were trained on tailoring cloth shopping bags as well as incense sticks making.
Picture: Yashoda Khadga -middle
In all the 6 districts similar economic activity trainings as well as cooking classes are ongoing. Along with the trainings the volunteers have formed local women's groups so that through organizing the women, collectively they can share about their problems, learn about women's rights and advocate for their rights. The strengthening of women's agency is ongoing, continuous and important .
The Building Lives/Inspiring Hopes BL/IH programme led by NA, went to Barpak, Gorkha for a follow up on their mentoring and backstopping support to the youths who have been trained with psycho social counselling, in the earthquake affected districts (L – follow-up visit in Barpak, Gorkha. Although the psycho social counsellors/youth are facing challenges owing to high expectations from their community/s, the 20 youths who are engaged currently in 5 districts, who have gained the trust and confidence from the local community members are continuously listening to the communities and providing them the required counselling. They feel the need for regular skills building and follow-ups. The NA team from the CEO, Board Chair has gone on these follow-up and monitoring visits.
Inspite of extreme cold and difficulty to travel due to the blockade and shortage of fuel, our work went smoothly and unhindered. Regarding HTG, in Sindhupalchok, under the leadership of Tewa grantee group, women's groups were formed in all the 9 wards of the VDC. These groups worked on women issues and strengthening women's agency including voice, choice, and independent thinking. It also worked towards economic empowerment of women in the community through different skills based training like bangle and hair clip making. A cooking training was conducted for 27 mothers with support from health center volunteers where they were trained on preparing tradition porridge for infants (lito). Likewise, there is sewing training, which is ongoing with the involvement of 18 women who are making warm clothes for the winter. Apart from these plans are underway to contribute finically towards purchasing land for two community schools - Bhagbati Nimna Madhemik Bidhalaya at Mandre, and Narad Pokhari School in Gojay at Ward no 2 and 3 respectively. These schools, which have 200 students, were completely destroyed by the earthquake of 25th April 2015. In addition to helping and supporting the women in the community/s, at large the volunteers are supporting to buy materials for the construction of the community clinic. Likewise the most needy 210 individuals have been distributed with warm clothes to cope with the winter.
'In all the districts of engagements the HTG volunteers and the BL/IH youths are doing seemingly small everyday work but all of it is helping the communities stay strong improvising and rebuilding their lives. Warm clothes, nutritious food, moral support, and love – all our pictures (R – Panmaya in Sindhupalchok) tell us that the volunteers have been one of the most reassuring and motivating factors. As envisioned this has also enabled women's ongoing agency both in ensuring rights and in any advocacy necessary or required' quote Rita, Founder,Tewa/Nagarik Aawaz.
Volunteers helping in dismantling houses at Jharuwarashi
Volunteers teaching women to make hygienic food from the available resources at Dharmasthali: In a schoolAttachments: