Jun 13, 2016

A girl's event

3 days for girls - 'Nicker' kits
3 days for girls - 'Nicker' kits
Global Giving Report #12 - 6/13/2016
We have just passed the one year mark of the earthquakes that devastated large parts of Nepal and, in particular, the Sindhupalchok and Kavre areas of the country. Entire communities were wiped out, thousands lost their homes, their livelihoods and their schools. Our Rajbash Community Hospital sustained considerable damage to its second floor and its staff quarters.  We felt helpless just witnessing what happened from our comforts here in the US, but the resilient Nepalis rallied as much as they were able and have made remarkable progress in rebuilding their communities (despite the lack of adequate assistance from the government and a paralyzing embargo of goods from India). Much, of course, remains to be done, but the courage and industry of the Nepalis in the face of terrible odds have garnered our respect and admiration. 
The damaged hospital and staff quarters were repaired with generous donations from US supporters.  New and stiffer building requirements have made the buildings safer (and visibly cleaner) than before. Our staff was very relieved to move back into the hospital premises after months of functioning in provisional quarters.
Our English DCWC partners visited Rajbash in May for some more strategic planning with the hospital staff and the DCWC staff. It has been challenging to align Nepali record keeping practices with Western bookkeeping requirements. This was not the first of such meetings. However, we feel that steady progress is being made toward more accuracy and transparency in financial record keeping. 
The highlight of our English friends’ visit was a previously planned, three day ‘Girls Event’. In remote areas of the country there is often a great lack of sanitary napkins for young menstruating girls to the point were many girls just won’t go to school during ‘that time’.  To remedy this, our friends brought a large supply of ‘nickers’ and washable sanitary towels and held educational meetings at schools for girls. As you can see from the pictures, their gift was greeted with enthusiasm and, also a little embarrassment.
Rajbash has a new Outreach/Educational provider named Ungela. Ungela comes with a degree in Community Health and replaces the beloved Minn Prasad who used to be such a vital part of the Educational and Outreach programs of the hospital.  Minn was lured away by a permanent government job and and his example shows the difficulty of keeping good employees long term. We hope that Ungela will become an integral part of Rajbash Hospital and carry on the important outreach work that is such an important aspect of bringing basic medical care into remote areas.
In time the outreach coordinator would also be a liaison for a Rajbash medical outpost in a more remote region that would be staffed by a trained nurse and provide basic medical services.  This has been one of the long held visions of the hospital’s founders and discussions are underway right now to make this vision a reality in the near future.
In closing we want to share one more bit of wonderful news with you:  The US organization ‘Medshare’,  collectors and distributors of surplus medical supplies and equipment, donated an entire ship’s container of supplies to our hospital. They even volunteered to pay the air freight for transport to Nepal. For seven months the DCWC staff negotiated with the government to obtain tax free entry until, finally, the supplies arrived in April and were transported to Rajbash  The hospital, in turn, shared some of the bounty with other hospitals in need.  We can not overstate our gratitude for this generous gift that will ease our hospital operation for quite a while to come.
DCWC supporters in the UK and in the US are planning the following treks in support of the Rajbash Hospital:
Nov. 4 - 20, 2016 - 15 days touring Nepal  
This will be a tour of sacred places in Nepal that are destinations of Buddhist pilgrimages. Transportation will be by bus and four wheel drive plus some short day hikes. For more information or to sign up for this trip contact stevegross@earthlink.net.
April 8 - 28, 2017   -  Two week trek to Annapurna Sanctuary (Base Camp), to include cultural exploration of Kathmandu. Details being finalized. For more information contact petersjc104@gmail.com
BOTH tour and trek to include visit to Rajbash Hospital and a DCWC school.
We continue to be grateful to all of you who support our ongoing efforts for the people of Nepal.  Blessings to you. 
Snickers about 'Nickers'
Snickers about 'Nickers'
Strategy session at Rajbash Hospital
Strategy session at Rajbash Hospital
Rajbash Hospital staff with village children
Rajbash Hospital staff with village children
Jun 13, 2016

Rebuilding status - 1 year after

New 'temporary permanent' dwelling in Kavre
New 'temporary permanent' dwelling in Kavre
Dear supporters of the SHELTER AND WATER FOR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS IN NEPAL project. This will be our final report before closing this project for lack of ongoing funding. This does not mean, however, that our rebuilding efforts will stop. We will continue with the construction of ‘temporary/permanent’ shelters as long as our funds permit.
There are many other NGOs whose main purpose is to help Nepalis rebuild. These efforts are scattered but all avoid having to go through government channels, which have proven to be ineffective and corrupt.  In some areas the government has provided $200 per household to rebuild, but even those disbursements are sporadic.  
As of this date the newly created Government Reconstruction Agency has approved  z e r o  projects and disbursed hardly any of the substantial sums of aid money that were pledged by countries all over the world after the earthquakes.  It now looks like the majority of people who lost their homes and are living in make shift dwellings of sticks and plastic tarps will have to do so for at least another monsoon season and most likely the next winter.  Many families also are hesitant to start rebuilding because the government announced that reconstruction would have to conform to new, improved building codes. However, these have not been worked out yet and are one more reason why progress is stifled. 
Thanks to your support and a generous grant from Global Giving, to date our team at the DCWC has been able to help 167 families move into new shelters. While these are seen as ‘temporary/permanent’ structures, they are seismically sound, can last many years and could be integrated into new construction should a family be able to rebuild an earthquake safe traditional stone house at a later date. 
Given all of the above information we have decided to refocus our efforts on the fundraising for our main project on Global Giving, the Rajbash Communite Hospital and its continued operation and support.  This hospital (also damaged during the earthquakes but now repaired and fully operational) supports a full time Nepali doctor, nurses, midwives and an outreach service. It provides basic medical services to a large number of subsistence farming families in the Nagre Gagarche/Sindhupalchok areas. Immediately after the earthquakes some of our staff went to organizing relief in the surrounding communities. Later they were instrumental in organizing the rebuilding project that you have been supporting.  Now, however, it is time for us to refocus on our hospital and the healthcare for people in remote areas.  To learn more about Rajbash Hospital and for continued support for DCWC go to Global Giving Project #14750 (Lifesaving healthcare for remote farming villages).
Should you want to read more about the current situation in Nepal please go to this link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3551153/Virtually-no-govt-rebuilding-1-year-Nepal-quake.html.
Thank you for your generosity and we hope to see you again on our hospital site.
New home for Prem and his family
New home for Prem and his family
One more family housed
One more family housed
Mar 21, 2016

The Process Of Recovery

New home for family in Nagre Gagarche
New home for family in Nagre Gagarche

The building of temporary shelters has been a lifesaver for so many Nepali villagers whose homes were demolished in last year's earthquakes.  Some still live in lean to’s or at the edge of unsafe damaged homes, with tarps for walls. These insecure, unhealthy environments can lead  to sickness , impoverishment, and despair. The devastation to the communities can’t be overstated. A dry environment, protected also from the wind and the elements provides a safe, secure haven to begin to recover, and people can then face other challenges. Here is the story of one village family as told by a member of our staff:

"This 47 year old woman is an inhabitant of Nagre Gagarche VDC-9, Duti. At April 25 she was working in the field and everything was moving and could not stand up and sat down with her husband Tul and children and in the next shake she was at home with her children and she says that she was so afraid and could not walk out because her children was sleeping upstairs and with a big fear she had brought her children outside then stones of wall was falling down. After that she stayed outside with tarpaulin tent given by DCWC but faced many trouble to stay in the tent. Now we could get materials for temporary shelter from DCWC and we did other works to build a temporary shelter. She said that it is very good now and warm in this winter otherwise would be very bad. Now she has forgotten her trouble before due to earthquake and normalizing their life with family."

To date 167 shelters have been completed and more are in the process of being constructed.    The  floor plan can be adapted to many materials. A simple rock and mud foundation wall, with embedded wood post and beam construction, provides the initial structure. The siding can then be wood, bamboo, plastic, or corrugated tin/iron.  Some timbers, rock, and some of the corrugated material can be salvaged from devastated old homes.  Most villagers have chosen these types of materials to implement the basic shelter floor plan.  Workshops were given to demonstrate construction techniques and expert guidance was given during the construction.   Similar to a ‘barn raising”,  groups in the community form to help build each others’ structures.  This coming together to build is helping to reignite a sense of community and belonging.

Lured by the promise of good jobs and high pay, many of the healthy young men have left the villages and their families to go to the Middle East.   In their attempt to support their families, the wife is left to care for the household, the children, the raising of some food, and the construction of shelter.  Many of the seed stores were destroyed during the quakes as well and most fields ended up lying fallow.  Parts of the water system were also damaged and made the water unfit for consumption.  A volunteer water expert from France  evaluated the situation and laid out a feasible plan for repair that is now being implemented. 

Permanent housing:  That is another story.  The government is attempting to set guidelines for safe construction, but how those will be implemented in remote villages is a big question.  International aid for reconstruction has yet to be released to the villages.  In Kavre people feel they cannot count on the government to help them.  It therefore is even more important  to continue building  “temporary“ structures for now. 

Much has been written in the press about government corruption,  the inept administration of aid to Nepal, and how little actually gets to the remote countryside.  Unfortunately much of it is correct. This is why it is so important to support vetted local Nepali NGO’s that are embedded in their communities and who know what needs to be done for whom. Funds raised from our “Earthquake Relief” fundraiser and generous grants from Global Giving made it possible for DCWC, our local Nepali NGO,  to start building shelters for people months ago. However, the need for more housing is huge, and until a plan can be created to implement long term housing, we will continue to create 'temporary homes' that allow families to return to some sense of comfort and normality.

We are grateful to all of you who have helped to support this devastated community.  

Interior of a 'temporary shelter'
Interior of a 'temporary shelter'
'Temporary shelter', opposite wall
'Temporary shelter', opposite wall
Woodsided temporary shelter
Woodsided temporary shelter
Village woman receiving stipend to buy door
Village woman receiving stipend to buy door

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