BRAC USA

Our mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Our interventions aim to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable men and women to realize their potential.
Jun 24, 2016

Rebuilding homes and communities

A widowed mother, Rita, in Kavre, Nepal.
A widowed mother, Rita, in Kavre, Nepal.

After the successful completion earlier this year of two demonstration houses for women widowed by the earthquake, BRAC participated in a series of consultations with the Nepali government and other aid organizations to continue to lobby for reconstruction of housing for the poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable households.

At the same time, BRAC organized focus groups with Nepalis in the Kavre district to better understand their most urgent needs. Those conversations led directly to the creation of a pilot project that was recently granted initial approval by the government to begin work in July.

The upcoming project has been organized in the Shyampati Village Development Committee (VDC). In Nepal’s districts, VDCs are similar to municipalities, created to foster strong partnerships between the communities, government, related agencies and NGOs.

With the new project, BRAC aims to train and equip a cadre of female community health volunteers to better deliver door-to-door health services to 850 households in the Shyampati VDC.

With your support, we will also establish ten adolescent resource centers, supplied with learning and play materials, and equip adolescent girls with life skills and financial literacy they require to start their own businesses.

Sanitation also surfaced as a pressing concern in the community. BRAC plans to repair or construct 100 public toilets to ensure proper sanitation and eliminate open-defecation in Shyampati.

BRAC maintains a commitment to improving the lives of Nepalis most affected by the earthquake. We are grateful to the many donors and supporters who have enabled these efforts. As our project evolves, we will update you on our progress and share stories about the people who benefit from these programs.

Through the end of June, GlobalGiving will match all new donations (up to $1,000) to our relief efforts in Nepal. Please share this project and help secure a healthy, safe future for the thousands of poor Nepalis who are struggling to rebuild their lives.

Apr 25, 2016

Rebuilding Nepal, one home at a time

Bescu, 84, a recipient of a new BRAC home.
Bescu, 84, a recipient of a new BRAC home.

A year has passed since a massive earthquake devastated Nepal, causing tremendous loss of life and shattering the country’s economy.

Of the country’s 75 districts, close to half were severely affected, and 14 were declared crisis zones by the Nepali government. BRAC was one of the first global organizations to respond with medical aid.

As the country shifted to rebuilding, BRAC transitioned to focus on reconstructing earthquake-affected homes in the Kavre district, a culturally-rich area southeast of Kathmandu.

Our first step was to design and build two demonstration houses exclusively for women widowed by the earthquake. These structures offered a proof of concept to Nepali officials while also providing relief to women without a source of income.

We are proud to report that both houses have been completed. Moreover, the houses were built by local masons trained by BRAC staff. This system enabled those masons with skills that will serve the community now and in the future.

There is still much to be done, and unfortunately reconstruction of 400 additional houses has become heavily politicized. BRAC is committed to working through the red tape to deliver relief to Nepalis who need it most. We extend our gratitude to the many donors whose generosity has and will continue to support quality aid and relief achieved by partnering with local community members.

As the anniversary of this terrible tragedy passes and the spotlight again fades, BRAC remains dedicated to rebuilding homes for the Nepali poor disproportionally affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks. We are participating in conversations with the Nepali government and other international aid organizations to guarantee that aid is effective, delivered efficiently, and provides valuable resources to the earthquake-affected residents of Kavre.

A BRAC demonstration house built by local masons.
A BRAC demonstration house built by local masons.
A view of Kavre, Nepal.
A view of Kavre, Nepal.
Jan 20, 2016

Building houses to help families get back on their feet

BRAC Nepal Country representative signs agreement
BRAC Nepal Country representative signs agreement

Sheetal, our BRAC USA fellow stationed in Nepal, has provided us with updates from the field. Below is her letter:

*****

Dear GlobalGiving supporters,

A big thank you for enabling our emergency response efforts in Nepal. I am excited to update you on our progress and goals for the coming months.

Since our first report in April 2015, so much good work has been done, but there is much more progress to be made to help families devastated by the earthquake.

BRAC is officially set up in Nepal and is looking to start providing long-term relief for families affected by the earthquake. We had hoped that we would be able to begin our project in November, so that the 400 houses we were planning to build would be complete and ready to move-in before the harsh winter started in December and January.

Unfortunately, this earthquake, being the biggest disaster in the history of Nepal, posed a unique challenge – especially to the Government of Nepal who scrambled to organize and plan for relief, rehabilitation and the sudden influx of foreign aid and assistance. Eght months after the earthquake, the victims received 15,000 Nepal rupees – approximately $150 – from the government. They also received some relief materials to rebuild their hoses such as corrugated iron sheets and tarpaulin (heavy-duty cloth). These materials alone are not enough, and many expected more from the government. We hope that we will be able to begin our project by the end of this month to start building permanent structures for families.

 Background on the earthquakes and BRAC in Nepal:

Two massive earthquakes of 7.9 and 7.6 on 25 April and 12 May, 2015, followed by a series of aftershocks in the following months caused tremendous loss of life and economy in Nepal (we are still experiencing shakes of magnitude 4 and higher 2-3 times a week). Thirty-one out of the 75 districts in Nepal were severely affected and among them,14 were declared 'crisis-hit' by the Government of Nepal.

 BRAC was one of the first global organizations that immediately responded to the Government of Nepal's request to provide medical assistance. As Nepal transitions from the relief phase to rehabilitation, BRAC intends to begin its operations by reconstructing 400 earthquake-affected houses in the district of Kavre. 

BRAC officially registered as an international non-governmental organization (INGO) in Nepal on 30 September 2015. Currently, BRAC is in the process of constructing two demonstration houses (both widow-headed households) before beginning the construction of the intended 400 houses.  Simultaneously, we have acquired a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Urban Development for this project. (We had submitted all the required documents, including our design for the houses, budget etc. on 4 November 2015, and thanks to government bureaucracy, after three long months we will be signing the MoU at noon tomorrow!)

We are excited for the future and grateful to all of the donors who are thinking of Nepal and the families here in need of support.

All the best,

Sheetal

 
   

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