Rebuilding life in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake has many challenges beyond the immediate shelter and rebuilding efforts. In Nepal you can work on women’s empowerment, film, education and earthquake recovery through Kaya. Volunteer support is still needed more than ever, not only with building but also in other ways.
In Nepal reconstruction is a difficult task and progress is slow and these are due to the following challenges:
- Financial – the government has only provided an estimated 7,000 of the 500,000 people who lost their homes with compensation. The government is still giving out ID cards that people need to qualify for financial assistance. However, many people are illiterate or don’t have a bank account and therefore this task is impossible for most. Although an NGO was asked to help set up bank accounts many people don’t have the necessary identification.
- Lack of building codes – financial support is only available on completion of a buildings inspection which must meet new codes. As the codes are unclear the process is lengthy.
- Lack of inspectors – inspectors are needed to ensure standards are met so some buildings such as schools are being rebuilt without appropriate permission
- Lack of skilled labour – skilled labourers familiar with local techniques and resources are needed for much of the work and they are in demand.
The recovery project offered by Kaya focuses on more than construction. There is always a need for help with mud plastering, painting and maintenance work and volunteers may be able to help with some of the emergency centre build work. However, there are other tasks that are equally as important:
- agriculture – food supplies were heavily impacted by the earthquake. Crops are needed to feed those under the protection of the project, and also other children in the community. The women need help year round with a range of tasks including planting, digging, hoeing, watering and harvesting. There is a food deficit In Nepal and therefore people rely on imports from India. With political tensions increased by the earthquake, access to extra produce was more difficult, highlighting the need for self sufficiency.
- education – during the time of the earthquakes school came to a halt. Many of the children in the community were already behind their peers in lessons, so support is required to help them to catch up.
- everyone at the farm is a survivor of over 350 earthquakes and some have lost family members as well as childhood homes. The earthquakes of 2015 brought back many painful memories for some of these women. Volunteer can offer support with their everyday lives, learning their stories and helping to develop them as local leaders. This forms an important part of their recovery process.
Most locals in this rural community have returned to their homes. Funds from donations and volunteers have helped with clearing rubble, building a new water spring, rebuilding homes, and constructing new toilets. The organisation has also lent money to many of the locals to help them fund their own recovery process.
The recovery project in Nepal is taking more of a focus on community development moving forward. Our volunteers will teach the women English, film and photography skills, and global citizenship. They will also support the educational activities of the women and children and help with feeding of the children. Their hands on tasks will include agriculture, building toilets, and maintenance work. This project really has evolved from emergency response in 2015 to ongoing recovery work and community development today.