In Bakreswori, a village in Gorkha, 80% of homes were destroyed in the earthquake. Now it is the site of EDWON's first reconstruction project.
Our primary concern is to provide a dry, warm temporary home for every needy family; our second is sanitation: clean water, adequate sanitary facilities and awareness to prevent outbreak of disease.
Bakreswori has seen improvements already, and our partners, ADWAN, have begun work on 51 dwellings, 20 latrines and 56 wash stations.
Community involvement is key to effective and equitable reconstruction. That is why creating a local Women's Committee is step one: women now play an important role in organizing their community and as monitors of fairness and progress.
Tukumaya, a longtime member of Bakreswori Women's Group A and now on the Women's Committe, has helped mobilize volunteers to form work-teams, first to build shelters for families with infants or with pregnant, old or incapacitated members. While community members provide the labor and local building materials, ADWAN staff procures roofing material and cement and bears the overall responsibility for success. All workers and volunteers are served two meals a day, cooked by other volunteers.
Initially the project was plagued by a host of challenges: from difficulties motivating traumatized victims to dealing with delays and shortages of building supplies. But in a month, much has been accomplished.
Two thirds of the 51 temporary homes now have walls and a roof structure waiting to be covered by zinc sheets--the roofing material of choice. But for weeks now, the delivery truck has been delayed, caught up in roadblocks and violent protests against Nepal's new constitution. We are hoping for a breakthrough this week so that Bakreswori's most vulnerable families can move into small, dry homes of their own.
In the meantime, women have carried bag after bag of cement from the main road up to their village, which has been used to build 29 wash stations: concrete platforms to accommodate piped water and a drain for each household. Combined with new, additional latrines, and with so-called WASH (WAter-Sanitation, Hygiene) Training, the wash stations will represent a huge improvement over pre-earthquake conditions.
Thanks to generous donors like you, EDWON is able to fund similar improvements in two additional villages this fall: temporary homes, improved sanitary facilities and WASH training to give over 100 families (about 500 people) a dry temporary home, new and life-saving sanitary conditions, and much improved safety and comfort.
We have heard that villagers are truly moved by the generosity of far-away strangers and they wish they had a way to show you their gratitude!
Your immediate and generous support has saved lives and reduced human suffering. Thank you!
Also a great big thank you to the Global Giving Foundation for a $10,000 donation for general relief work--when it mattered most!
Because of all of you, our Nepal partner, ADWAN, could respond quickly to people’s urgent needs in our project area. In 10 out of 11 communities, ADWAN was the only source of emergency relief. Large relief organizations have yet to show up.
“I will never forget the day ADWAN arrived with food and relief aid. We cannot imagine the situation if we hadn’t received support from them. Thank you ADWAN for your support in this difficult time!”
Bal Maya is just one of the 760 women from our Gorkha women’s groups left homeless by the earthquakes. People who owned little before lost everything, including the stored grain they depend on for survival.
Villagers now live under the most difficult conditions: tents, tarps and recycled materials barely keep them dry during the unusually harsh weather. Cooking, eating, keeping clean and sleeping is a struggle. And in addition, the aftershocks make for constant high levels of anxiety.
While everyone is traumatized, acts of kindness and compassion abounds. People who have little, often share with those who have nothing. There is still hope--and hugs and smiles
Delievered by ADWAN, EDWON has funded the following aid:
Number of Villagers Served
On its Way
WHAT IS NEXT?
Reconstruction and recovery requires enormous resources, so collaboration with partners is crucial. ADWAN and EDWON are engaged in building partnerships with organizations and foundations both in and outside Nepal to help fund the massive rebuilding and recovery.
We are focusing our efforts in three areas: temporary homes, livelihoods and schools.
Our highest priority is constructing temporary shelters strong enough to withstand the monsoon. Tents and tarps are insufficient during heavy downpour. Building permanent homes must wait until the monsoon has ended in August/September.
Temporary shelters will be constructed quickly and with recycled and newmaterials. ADWAN is mobilizing our women’s groups to collaborate with local skilled workers in building temporary shelters for theri communities over the next few months--the target is 1400 shelters.
Farmland, livestock, food grain and seed corn is damaged or lost. In collaboration with ADWAN and with input from our women groups we will be working on ways to restore livelihoods.
Most schools (7) were damaged or destroyed. ADWAN team members, teachers and volunteers have already built temporary schools in some communities. But to function well, the schools need additional whiteboards and furniture.
The View from a Village: Balmaya's Story
-Happy to be Alive, Worried about the Future-
Balmaya remembers standing in front of her garden when the entire house and ground started shaking and quavering. She fell unconscious, but thankfully woke up to see that her entire family was unharmed! When the quaking stopped, this family and most other villagers were homeless. And with her stored food buried under rubble, Balmaya didn’t know how to feed her family.
A mother of five, married to a sick man, Balmaya has been an active member of a women’s group for ten years.
The first few days, she explains, villagers waited for government aid; it was rumored that supplies had arrived at the district headquarters. Yet, they received nothing. She and others think it is because they are Dalits, “We are never a priority! “, she says.
A few days later, it was ADWAN that arrived with urgently needed rice, lentils, blankets, tents, and other items.
"I will never forget the day ADWAN arrived with food and relief aid in my village. We can't imagine the situation if we hadn't received support from ADWAN. Thank you ADWAN for your support in this difficult time" - Balmaya Today, the family lives in a shelter made of straw, tarp, and debris, and Bal Maya worries about keeping her family safe during the monsoon. People are pessimistic about delivery of government help for temporary homes-- let alone for permanent ones.
With tears in her eyes she says, “Even though we have survived the earthquakes, our future is so uncertain! Once the aid ration is finished, I will have to borrow money to buy food and medicine.”Since that horrible day, she has not been herself, Balmaya says. The trauma, the stress and the total destruction make her anxious for the future. She says that members of her women’s group have met a few times since the earthquake; they plan to resume their activities and to help each other rebuild their lives. They hope ADWAN will be there for them.
Alisha is 15 years old and has always excelled in school. As an EDWON-sponsored child, we have followed her since 2009. When I met her in March of 2015 in Tanglichowk village, she impressed me as someone who could go far with the right kind of educational support.
Since we started the Ambitious Girls Fund, we have helped 38 Dalit girls graduate, 23 of them with a bachelor degree. We are currently supporting the education of 23 additional girls.
As a Dalit girl Alisha has already tasted the bitterness of discrimination. She has also suffered recent losses and traumas: after the sudden death of her still young father her mother remarried and moved away. But why, you may ask, did she abandon her girls? The answer is that it is just another expression of gender discrimination: while women are expected to care for children from a husband’s first marriage, they must leave their own offspring from a previous marriage behind. Alisha and her young sister are lucky to be cared for by loving grandparents.
The grandmother is a member of an EDWON women’s group--one of 14 I interviewed on my trip to Nepal in March. Sitting under a large tree with stunning views of a lush valley, we discussed both successes and challenges, while Alisha and her friend served milk tea and biscuits from a large thermos. As I sat down with her in the golden afternoon light, she told me how she loves school and that she dreams of becoming a lawyer: “I see so much injustice around me”, she explained, “ And I want to help make right what’s wrong.” With your support, Alisha has gained the confidence to dream big; her view of life and what is possible has changed forever.
But now all plans must be revised: on April 25th a massive earthquake hit--lives and dreams are shattered. The epicenter was near Alisha’s Gorkha village. Thankfully, few villagers died, but Alisha now lives in a tent with her grandparents. The neat little home built by her grandfather is just a heap of rubble, and Alisha’s school is temporarily closed. The May 12th aftershock earthquake that followed caused additional damage in Tanglichowk. The challenges of daily life and survival are immense.
EDWON continues to help fund the education of girls like Alisha. But in the current situation providing emergency relief and helping people rebuild their homes and lives take priority. Alisha and thousands of other villagers urgently need food, sandals, blankets--and to rebuild their homes.
Please give generously to EDWON’s Rebuilding Fund for Rural Dalit Women of Nepal. DONATE HERE