About 23 months after the devastating earthquakes in Nepal, people are fully engaged in rebuilding their homes even now. All 47 homes at Jhamire Village were destroyed in the killer quakes of 2015. People of Jhamire had good homes for themselves and their cattle. They lived in temporary tin-sheds with very little protection through two monsoon and winter seasons. Though they received immediate relief materials from different NGOs and Navjyoti, funds for rehabilitation from Nepal government was not coming forth. In the meantime, the people organized themselves to begin the reconstruction work collectively. Once they received the first installment from the government for the reconstruction work, they formed groups of four to seven to make the cement blocks and to do the necessary groundwork to lay the foundation for their houses.

Navjyoti is helping the people for their livelihood and give cement blocks for the reconstruction of their houses as per the government norms. Navjyoti buys cement, sand and other required materials to make the cement blocks. In groups, people make the blocks with the free materials, electricity, and water provided by Navjyoti to ensure the quality of the cement block. People are paid for the labor to support their livelihood. People are also satisfied that they themselves make their own cement blocks. Each group is responsible to transport the bricks to their respective places.

At Jhamire Village, people take turns to make each house collectively. Though they work together to complete a house to a certain extent, they take their meals in their own homes not to burden any one particular family. The entire villagers decided to claim the second installment for the reconstruction from the government as a group and not individually. Therefore, each one takes interest to complete everyone’s house to the plinth level before they plan to approach the government for the second installment. Everyone is comfortable with this idea of knowing that they are together in their efforts in this reconstruction work.

Navjyoti staff regularly met with the village elders and leaders to gather information and to know the aspirations of the people. Many times, the whole village was consulted to make plans. Navjyoti developed a trust level with the people after many meetings and regular contacts. Gradually, people realized the importance of collective action.Though Navjyoti staff is around to supervise the cement block making, major purchases and payments and orderly distribution of materials, the people themselves take responsibility to see to who gets what and when and whose house they would work on as a group. We have been fortunate to see such visible signs of systemic change among our people through the last most difficult years of their lives.

There is an acute water shortage in the earthquake affected villages. People collect water drop-by-drop and use it judiciously for their personal needs. The little water that is saved is used for the construction of their homes. Navjyoti has given to the people ninety-eight one-thousand-liter water tanks for collection and storage of water. Most of the tanks remain empty.

Once monsoon begins, people would be engaged in their fields. They would have to live through another monsoon in their temporary tin sheds.

In the 2015 earthquakes, 478 houses were completely destroyed out of the 507 households in our target area in Koshidekha Village Development Committee. Six people lost their lives and there were nine casualties. The only health center of the area was partially damaged and out of the three schools, one was totally damaged. Navjyoti repaired the health center with an added room the examination of women. The temporary shelter was made to relocate the totally damaged school with the help of other NGOs.

Malini Manjoly, SCN | View more photos