Earthquake recovery in Sindupalchowk, Nepal

by The Nepal Trust Vetted since 2011 Site Visit Verified
Tarkegyang school near completion
Tarkegyang school near completion

Dear friends and supporters.

Tarkegyang village in Helambu was totally destroyed in the 2015 earthquake that devastated the homes and lives of so many people in this part of Nepal. From being a busy and successful community, much loved by trekkers and tourists, it was reduced in seconds to a pile of stones and timbers. Contact with the outside world was limited and people had to survive with very limited resources. Always resourceful they rallied round and began to salvage what they could for the rebuilding phase. All stones and timbers were carefully sorted and stacked for future re-use.

The Nepal Trust was the first agency to arrive in the village and quickly began a recovery programme. Emergency support and temporary housing materials were quickly supplied to protect the villagers from the vagaries of the impending monsoon and the cold winters at these high elevations. The villagers themselves quickly re-established the community trekking lodge to provide a steady flow of income to help with the rebuilding of their village.

It was decided from the outset that the children should not suffer more disruption to their young lives than was absolutely necessary. Schooling was of the utmost importance for their futures and being able to continue with their lessons would help them to overcome the terrible trauma of the earthquake. The Trust provided a Temporary Learning Centre (TLC) that allowed their education to continue.

Plans were quickly drawn up to replace the damaged school with an earthquake resistant building to meet government regulations. This was a drawn out procedure and took much longer than expected due to the overwhelming demands place on the government. Work started in late 2016 and was well underway during my visit in Spring 2017. All materials; stone, timber, gravel, cement, etc, had to be physically carried to the site from the nearest roadhead - a tremendous task but not out of the question for these hardy mountain people.

I am happy to report that the school is almost ready for use. The final touches are being made and it should be ready in a matter of weeks.

Of course none of this would have happened without your help and support. There is still much to do and requests and demands for our help are a constant. Schools, infrastructure and livelihood projects are our focal areas. It is so important to get back working and to provide incomes and future prosperity.

I hope you will continue to give your support and please encourage friends and colleagues to help also. It is now 3 years since the earthquake and many are still living under desperate circumstances. Recovery will take a long time and we will remain there until there is a semblance of normality.

Namaste 

Temporary Learning Centre
Temporary Learning Centre
A pile of stone and timbers.
A pile of stone and timbers.
Plastering work
Plastering work
Nearly there.
Nearly there.
A magnificent mountain view.
A magnificent mountain view.
The tailor of Syaule
The tailor of Syaule

Dear Friends and Supporters

Winter at the high elevations of Sindupalchowk are cold and the heavy snow falls can make moving around difficult. Living in these conditions is problematic at the best of times but much more so having to survive in temporary homes after a devastating earthquake. The priority is to get livelihood support systems functioning again to provide food and financial support. The following report was prepared by our Communications officer, Anu Lama, and describes the work we are doing to get the local villagers working again. Anu comes from one of the villages in the area. Her village was entirely destroyed by the earthquake.

In May 2016 the Nepal Trust started the 'Sindupalchowk Livelihood Support project SLSP (2nd Phase)', a continuation of our 1st Phase project. In this 2nd phase we have developed activities that include on and off-farm, socio-economic infrastructure, market restoration and disaster risk reduction activities. The overall goal of the project is to improve the income generation capacity of marginalized households.

Over 90% of the people of Nepal are engaged in agriculture activities. Under SLSP we have supported 140 farmers from the Helambu, Kunchok, Nawalpur, Sipapokhare, and Syaule VDCs. The farmers took part in training such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM), including pest control by natural mechanisms, and Farm Yard Manure (FYM) which is preparing orgainic fertiliser by using animal dung, urine, waste straw and other dairy wastes to improve soil fertility.

The support for farmers included 140 greenhouses and plastic drums for organic fertiliser. Additionally, we provided seasonal seeds like tomato, green chilli, cucumber, cauliflower and green peas. Linked with local Agro-Vets as well as the District Agriculture Office (DADO) farmers were trained in harvest and post-harvest practices for vegetable preservation and marketing.

In this project we have also a seperate component where agro-vets, agriculture cooperatives, traders, and farmers are trained on building their capacity so that they can complement each other for a common goal. We also supported a number of Dalits, landless, and marginalised people by providing revolving funds via local women's / agriculture cooperatives at a 5% interest rate so the can 'build back better' and engage in alternative livelhoods like farming, goat rearing, local retail shops, bricket making, etc.

To save time and ease the work load of local farmers we have supported the cooperatives with 4 mini-tillers and 4 threshing machines that will benefit over 500 households. The farmers can hire and pay a minimum fee for their usage; the fees are used for repairs and maintenance.

We have constructed 5 water schemes for drinking as well as irrigation purposes that benefits 500 households. We have also constructed 2 Market Collection and Seed Storage centres in Sipapokhare and Kunchok VDCs by co-funding with other local NGOs, rural municipalities and women's cooperatives. The aim here is to help farmers sell their produce by eliminating the fear of loss due to storage by intermediaries and also to give a direct link to the markets.

An exposure visit was organised where 31 participants including farmers, cooperatives and agriculture technicians visited different commercial and private agricultural farm and research stations in Kathmandu. It was an interactive, participative approach to demonstrate farming by observing different farms  and facilitating farmers to learn new techniques, observe different crops and compare their own practices with others.

Another new initiative supported by the Nepal Trust was the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme under which we trained many local communities on strategies to reduce the damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and landslides, by invoking an ethic of prevention. The activities included DRR group formation, vulnerability mapping, awareness training on first aid, search and rescue, early warning, and linking with district DRR forums and safety and evacuation drills.

In coordination with the District livestock Office (DLO) we provided door to door Veterinary services  to 497 households in the 5 VDCs where we work.

I would also like to report that our school building programme is on target. The new primary school at Tarkegyang should be completed in about 3 months. Local children have endured the hardships of our Temporary Learning Centres but will soon have the luxuries of a new earthquake resistant building with magnificent views to the snow peaks of Langtang.  

Thank you all for your continued support and we hope you will continue to help in what ever way you can. It will take years of recovery before these communities are back to a form of normality. They are working hard themselves and moving ahead with great spirit but still need some support to make it all work. Perhaps you can share this report with your friends and colleagues and encourage them to contribute?

Namaste

 

Three ladies.
Three ladies.
Veterinary services and beneficiary
Veterinary services and beneficiary
Tarkegjang Primary School
Tarkegjang Primary School
Tarkegyang School (2)
Tarkegyang School (2)
Seed Distribution
Seed Distribution

Shiny tin roofs are all over the earthquake areas. Much needed after the devastation that left whole villages and communities in ruins. They were only ever meant to be a temporary measure but are still very common almost 3 years after the earthquake. The following report by a new member of the Nepal Trust board and a Community Health professional, Sally Woodes Rogers, illustrates this problem but also notes the progress that we are making to improve livelihoods and future prospects.

'I know rural Nepal well, but found myself shocked, as we travelled deeper into the area hit by the earthquake, by the massive destruction. No longer were there views of beautifully colourful terracotta, neatly thatched, village houses. They were replaced by a vista of shining corrugated tin roofs, all glistening in the sunshine.. The 'tin houses' are described as cold and leaking water, with little hope of a new house being built anytime soon.

The Nepal Trust has a pragmatic approach to relief projects and collaborates with community partnerships to facilitate local people with the means to restart their own village enterprises. It has worked with a spectrum of need addressing various aspects of recovery including the provision of accessible water supplies and supporting the distribution of sewing machines enabling tailors to restart their own businesses. Projects are also underway to construct new schools, replacing and improving the destroyed facilities. The Nepal Trust works in partnership with other agencies to complete such projects. It selects its projects on collaboration with communities to meet need and it financially facilitates locally run rural projects. Wherever possible it utilises local skills to ensure that community partnership remains central to the project. An example has been the support offered to local stonemasons to achieve higher educational qualifications and then return to employ their newly aquired skills for rebuilding work back in their own communities. I left Sindhupalchowk very encouraged by the work of the Nepal Trust, which I had seen at first hand, although sharing the sense of frustration expressed by the local people regarding the lack of progress. The Nepal Trust along with other INGOs, particularly our partner ICCO, have offered a lifeline in the earthquake zones, where two years on, so, so much remains to be done.'

Anu Lama, our deputy project manager and communications officer in Nepal has reported on significant progress being made in the Sindhupalchowk Livelihood Support Project (SLSP). This project focusses on socio-economic infrastructure including farming and other economic activities,with a focus on market restoration and disaster risk reduction procedures. 140 farmers have been given training in intergrated pest management including natural means of control and soil fertility management methods to improve soil quality. The farmers have been provided with greenhouses, plastic drums for organic fertilizer and seeds to provide a wider range of products for the market. Training has been given on harvest and post-harvest practices to improve vegetable storage and preservation and the improvement of marketing potential. Veterinary support is given to improve animal welfare and rearing. Revolving funds have been set up via local womens/agricultural cooperatives, at very low interest rates, to encourage economic development through local enterprise.

Elsewhere our school building programme continues and shows good progress. The new teaching block at the school for deaf children in Chitwan has been completed together with a modern toilet block. This school is so important for these children who would otherwise have no future. The new primary school at Tarkegjang village in Helambu is now  progressing rapidly despite the physical and logistical problems of constructing an earthquake resistant building in such a remote and mountainous place. I hope to have more to say about this project in my next report.

To all our donors and supporters I would like to thank you again for your support and wish you and yours all the best for 2018. From all at the Nepal Trust.

Veterinary Support
Veterinary Support
Chitwan School for deaf children
Chitwan School for deaf children
Chitwan toilet block
Chitwan toilet block
Tarkegjang school under construction
Tarkegjang school under construction
Tarkegjang construction workers
Tarkegjang construction workers
Disaster Risk Reduction training
Disaster Risk Reduction training

The devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015, and subsequent huge aftershocks, destroyed whole communities. Thousands died and hundreds of thousands were left homeless. Unfortunately, the government was ill prepared to deal with such a monumental disaster and the subsequent response was very slow. The government have now made it a mandatory requirement to form Local Disaster Management Committees in all VDCs. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) committees have now been formed in each ward as a first step to making a community more resilient. Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments (VCA) using various participatory tools guages people's exposure to and capacity to resist natural hazards. VCA enables local priorities to be identified and appropriate action taken to reduce the disaster risk.

The Nepal Trust has been at the forefront of developing this strategy in five areas of Sindhupalchowk involving communities, local authorities and humanitarian and development organisations. The tasks include the drawing up of a social map to identify the hazards and the vulnerability and capacity of the programme area. It also identifies risk reduction activities to prevent or lessen the effects of possible hazards, risks and vulnerabilities. All district stakeholders are made aware of the importance of disaster risk management and disaster drill exercises are organised to test the capacity of the community to respond to a disaster.

The Nepal Trust continues to work very closely with local farmers. In partnership with local cooperatives we are currently constructing two collection centres which will provide space for seed and dairy storage, an agro-vet hub and provide office space. The Centres will act as sales hubs for local farmers to provide access to a wider market. The project is being built with co-funding from the cooperatives and in partnership with other NGOs, the district Agriculture and Livestock offices, and the local municipalities.

Revolving funds have been provided to the local cooperatives that will be used to provide low interest loans to Dalit and marginalised farmers. In addition the cooperatives have been provided with land tillers, rice threshers and agricultural tools to form the basis of a business led model approach to agriculture. Profits earned will be used to develop and expand the cooperative business.

We continue to support communities with new improved irrigation schemes which will also provide drinking water. So far we have benefitted over 1500 people with this initiative.

I hope you will continue to support this project and help these people still struggling to get back to a normal life. Thank you for all the help you have given and please let your friends know about us. My personal trip to the earthquake area earlier this year brought it home the task that lies ahead. Many villages still lie as rubble and many thousands of villagers still live in tin shacks or tarpaulin tents. That can't be right. 

DRR training
DRR training
Collection Centre construction
Collection Centre construction
Irrigation-local participation
Irrigation-local participation
Irrigation
Irrigation
Improved farm equipment
Improved farm equipment
Deaf school - teachers and children
Deaf school - teachers and children

Dear supporters and friends. More than two years have passed since the dreadful earthquake in Nepal that took so many lives and destroyed thousands of villages and the livelihoods of those remaining. The response from organisations around the world was immediate and gave some relief to the survivors. Sadly the government was slow to respond  and did not release any money until over a year later. Even then it was released in an haphazard way and there are many villagers still to receive help from official sources.

I have only recently returned from a visit to our project areas in Nepal including Sindalpalchowk, the most seriously affected earthquake area, where the Nepal Trust has focussed on infrastructure repairs and income support. I am very pleased to say that our efforts have made a huge difference in the villages we are working in and clear signs of progress are being made.

Our trained stonemasons are working flat out to rebuild homes and public structures. New water supplies and irrigation systems are evident in a number of villages and farmers have received training in new techniques such as polytunnels and greenhouses to expand and increase their agricultural productivity. Veterinary training and services have been provided to improve and expand the livestock that was so heavily decimated in the earthquake. Our star farmer, Kshetra, has built an amazing agricultural complex that is attracting farmers from all around who want to copy his systems and techniques. His example is a lesson to all.

One of the first group of people to be helped by the Nepal Trust was the Dalit (untouchable) community. These people own nothing and have no land to support themselves. They exist by labouring or producing things like clothing; many are tailors. Most lost their sewing machines which the Trust replaced. We visited one tailor who is now thriving. From the gift of one machine he has now prospered and expanded, employing three more tailors. A happy man!

Many schools were devastated by the earthquake. Luckily the earthquake happened on a Saturday, the only day when the children are not there. Any other day and the result does not bear thinking about! There is a Higher Secondary school in Kiul that was very badly damaged by the quake. The Trust is committed to building eight new classrooms but, to date, government bureaucracy has stalled progress. Our visit may have resolved some issues and we look forward to some progress in the very near future.

Tarkegjang village under the beautiful snow peaks of Helambu was totally devastated, not a building left standing. These resilient people have done much themselves to restore some normality to their lives. A temporary structure has gone up to replace the Guest House that collapsed - a valuable source of tourist income. It is clean and comfortable and the services and food are remarkable. The Trust is rebuilding the primary school in this village and good progress is now being made. All materials, sand, brick, cement, etc, have to be carried to the site  from the nearby roadhead but this is happening with great vigour and purpose. One of the very emotional and inspiring episodes of our visit.

Finally, I made a visit to Bharatpur on the Terai near the border with India. The affects of the earthquake was less marked here but still had a devasting affect on poorly constructed buildings. One such building is the school near Chitwan that specialises in teaching deaf children and children with handicaps such as cerebral palsy. The school building became totally unsafe after the earthquake. Children are getting their lessons in temporary structures that is not entirely suitable for the education they need. Rapid progress is now being made on the new building  and we are hoping it will be ready for occupation by the end of this summer.

Thank you for all your help and support. We hope you can continue to help in some way. This was a terrible disaster now, of course, overtaken by new disasters around the world. This does not, in any way, reduce the impact and the need that these people will require for many years to come. Perhaps you can encourage a friend or colleague to help?

With our best wishes and grateful thanks. Namaste. 

Deaf school under construction
Deaf school under construction
Dalit tailor.
Dalit tailor.
Kshetras Farm
Kshetras Farm
Tarkegjang school under construction
Tarkegjang school under construction
Tarkegjang hospitality - Thukpa.
Tarkegjang hospitality - Thukpa.
 

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The Nepal Trust

Location: Glasgow, Scotland - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.nepaltrust.org
Project Leader:
Tony Sharpe
Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom
$28,964 raised of $95,000 goal
 
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