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.