Jul 23, 2015

"You came to us!": A story of rebuilding in Nepal.

Bimal at the site of his collapsed factory.
Bimal at the site of his collapsed factory.

Dear GlobalGiver, 

I’ve just returned from Nepal, a country still reeling from two devastating earthquakes this spring that killed nearly 9,000 people. I spent the last two weeks of June with GoodWeave’s local staff, licensed exporters, grantors, partners, as well as government officials. As a generous donor to our Earthquake Relief Fund, you are receiving this report of what I witnessed on the ground.  Here is my first field update, as drafted from my room in a Kathmandu guest house:

Today, we visited the hardest hit of GoodWeave’s 75 licensed exporters in Nepal. While most are back up and running, this was a site of devastation. This is what we saw as we approached – the owner Bimal seated outside what was once a beautiful, sprawling building that had overlooked the Valley and combined his home and factory.

The first 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25 left the building with significant cracks. The second earthquake 16 days later brought it tumbling down.  All the looms, raw materials and finished rugs inside were destroyed. Bimal and his family were left with nothing.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, GoodWeave Nepal visited Bimal and 274 other participating factories to provide emergency assistance, offering medical aid, then food, mattresses and tents to more than 5,700 workers and their families.During a second phase, the team assessed the damage and safety of weaving facilities. According to my colleagues who worked round-the-clock during those harrowing days, the owners and weavers cried out with relief: “You came to us!"

When I met with Bimal, he showed me the makeshift loom shed he built from metal sheeting – a temporary solution, but one that is more comforting than concrete. Seven weavers have returned from Sarlahi and Sindhupalchowk districts, eager to replace lost income. With support from his buyer and GoodWeave, Bimal will soon begin production on two rugs – his first order since the earthquakes.

Now, more than two months after the first quake, the initial shock has worn off – but much remains to be done. At the moment, we estimate that at least 800 individual weavers in our community have completely lost their homes to the earthquakes. As we begin to focus on longer-term rebuilding, your gift is helping us to provide housing assistance, school fees, and psychosocial support for these weavers and their families, enabling them to return to work and continue earning much-needed income. Your generosity also enables us to provide technical assistance for factories to build back better and restore jobs in the carpet industry, Nepal’s largest export sector.

On behalf of Bimal and all those who are literally rebuilding with your support – thank you.

Gratefully yours,

Nina

Bimal's granddaughter smiles for the camera.
Bimal's granddaughter smiles for the camera.

Links:

May 28, 2015

You Have Helped To Keep These Children Safe

The children who call Hamro Ghar home
The children who call Hamro Ghar home

Dear GlobalGivers,

As you will surely know by now, Nepal was rocked by a massive earthquake on April 25, killing more than 8,000 people, injuring more than 23,000, and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. Aftershocks, some almost as severe as the first quake, have continued to make buildings unsafe and disrupt lives in and around the Kathmandu valley.

GoodWeave’s Hamro Ghar was not spared, although I am so happy to tell you that none of the children living there were harmed. The building, however, has been seriously compromised with cracks in the walls and a broken water filtration system and power generator.  We have set up a safe place for the children at the ground level, and are taking very special care of them, while also attempting to track down the whereabouts and circumstances of their families. 

GoodWeave staff are working tirelessly, even in the face of their own personal losses, to ensure that all of our Hamro Ghar residents are well cared for and that they are continuing with their schooling and other activities. It is so important to ensure that they have a sense of normalcy and stability during this time.

Thanks to you, GoodWeave is able to provide this safe space for rescued children to thrive – a place that is more vital now than ever before.  In the aftermath of disasters such as this one, an increase in exploitation and trafficking puts children at greater risk. While GoodWeave is working to prevent more children from being pulled into the cycle of child labor, because of your support, Hamro Ghar can continue to provide a safe and nurturing  place for any children who are rescued – children like Sujan. 

Sujan was discovered working in a carpet factory by GoodWeave inspectors in March. At only 11 years old, he already had a long history of work, having spent several years as a waiter and dishwasher in a hotel before being brought to a carpet factory by a hotel customer. Sujan used to go to school, but when his father was killed by his uncle over a money dispute, he dropped out and went to work to help his mother and three siblings make enough to survive. At the carpet factory, he was made to work from 4 am until 8 pm every day, enduring harsh conditions and verbal abuse from his employer.

Now, at Hamro Ghar, Sujan has been able to return to his schooling. He is happy to be there, and is learning to read and write. Thanks to you, Sujan is able to be a child again.

As Nepal begins to recover and rebuild following the earthquake, GoodWeave will continue to help children like Sujan to have a safe place to call home – a place to learn, and play, and grow.

Thank you for helping children like Sujan to have a chance for a happy future!

With gratitude,

Nina

Sujan, Age 11
Sujan, Age 11

Links:

Feb 27, 2015

Kumari's Story- and an Important Update

Kumari, age 10
Kumari, age 10

Dear GlobalGiver,

If you were to visit Hamro Ghar today, you might lock eyes with 10-year-old Kumari.

Born in a small village with four siblings, Kumari’s family moved to the city where her father found work in construction. Her life changed dramatically when her father was imprisoned. She doesn’t know why he was arrestedonly that it forced her mother to borrow money, creating a debt that Kumari’s work in a carpet factory was meant to clear. After dropping out of school, Kumari begin working from 4am to 9pm. She sometimes suffered from headaches, a common side effect from working in dusty and dimly-lit spaces. 

GoodWeave found Kumari during a routine inspection on June 17th and she has been living and learning at Hamro Ghar ever since.  While shy at first, her smile – when it comes – really does light up a room. Her teachers describe her as an outgoing, intelligent child with a positive attitude and an eagerness to study. She loves to sing, and hopes to one day become a doctor to serve those in need.

When I met Kumari during a visit to Hamro Ghar in the fall, I had the privilege of meeting her and seeing how far she has come since the day she was found in the factory. It’s because of your support that Kumari now has a safe space to heal, play, and learn – and dream about the future. Thank you!

There’s one more update that I’d like to share. As GoodWeave’s expertise has grown, we have begun to expand our model into new sectors. One of these new initiatives, Better Brick Nepal, involves Nepal’s brick industry, in which children comprise an estimated one-third of the workforce. When unaccompanied children are found in and removed from the brick kilns that participate in Better Brick Nepal, they too will need a safe place to call home along the path to rehabilitation. We are grateful that Hamro Ghar can provide the support these children will need alongside those rescued from carpet looms.  Your continuing support will help us to ensure that Hamro Ghar’s staff has the capacity to support the wide variety of needs of these children.

Thanks again for all you do to help children like Kumari have a brighter, more hopeful future!

With gratitude,

Nina

Child making bricks. (Copyright U. Roberto Romano)
Child making bricks. (Copyright U. Roberto Romano)

Links:

 
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