Stories from Nepal
In April and May 2015 two earthquakes, both measuring over 7.5 in magnitude, stuck the mountainous country of Nepal. All We Can has been supporting partners working in this region for a number of years. Through trusted local partners, and international partners with emergency response expertise, All We Can is committed to supporting recovery in Nepal. Here we share some stories from the communities our partners are working with.
January 2017 Update
Not forgotten – Dhana and Mansuba’s story
Dhana, 73, and his wife Mansuba, 69, burst into laughter when I asked about the first time they met. It was wonderful to see them smile. Not long ago, life had been very difficult for them.
Dhana and Mansuba’s home was severely damaged by the earthquakes that struck in 2015. They had nowhere else to go, so they moved into their cattle shed, a damp one-room building made of bamboo and plastic sheeting.
This past winter, Dhana became terribly ill. There was no escaping the cold in the shed, and his old bones were just too frail for it. Mansuba took care of him every day, and they feared the worst. But they made it through the winter.
In the spring, they learned some great news. Their local community had chosen them to receive one of the new model homes that masons were building with support from All We Can’s humanitarian aid partner Medair. The couple was thrilled, and not just for themselves.
“We have our granddaughter to take care of,” Dhana told me, his eyes lighting up. “This little one is so lively. Her mother died just 20 days after giving birth to her. We want her to grow up well, to be able to go to school. So I have to work hard, even though I’m old and cannot do as much as I used to do.”
In Nepal, All We Can’s partner has been investing in the training of local masons to ensure that the reconstruction of the country is done to the highest possible standards to build back better with earthquake-resilient techniques. After their theoretical training is complete, the masons build model houses that are given to the most vulnerable families in each community, including Dhana and Mansuba.
The masons were so helpful to us,” said Dhana. “They worked hard on our house and they even helped fetch water, because it’s hard for us to do it. Now that our house is being built by the masons, I can focus on farming our land. It won’t be enough to feed us for a whole year, but I’m also making baskets to sell at the market.”
The masons are grateful for the training. Not only are they learning better construction methods, but they are also better qualified to sell their services and support their families. “We now know how to build earthquake-resilient houses, with seismic bands and other features,” said one of the newly trained masons. “It will prevent a lot of people from dying and losing their house when another earthquake strikes. I’m proud of that. It is so important not to use the old techniques anymore.”
With their sturdy new home nearly completed, the family smiled at me often as they prepared to move in and make it their own. “I’m very happy for the help of the community to build us a new house,” said Dhana. “I can worry less now, knowing we can have a safe place to live in. We might be getting old, but we feel we are not forgotten.”
This story was told by Wendy van Amerongen, a relief worker with All We Can’s partner Medair in Nepal. All images © Medair.