August 25, 2015
This year’s monsoon hasn't been easy for the people of Nepal, making the most of living in temporary shelters surrounded by muddy waters until rebuilding can begin when the rains end.
Our thanks to Paulo Thiago from Friends of India for his unceasing dedication to helping those in need, co-ordinating initiatives and networking with various interested groups. Also, for doing his best to keep spirits up while the heavy rains come down!
For the past weeks, the permission papers for our third and final truckload of #TentsToNepal offerings has been awaiting tax waiver clearance. Friends of India, ABARI and other partners in Kathmandu are doing all they can to get the necessary documents cleared. It’s difficult for most of us to understand how there can so many obstacles when thousands of people in Nepal still do not have adequate shelter. More than one million houses were fully or partially damaged during the April 2015 earthquakes. Today, more than four months later, the UN estimates around 10% of the population still need shelter, food and basic medical care. Many in mountainous, hard-to-reach areas, who have so far mostly received food and tent materials from aid agencies and grassroots organizations.
We’re praying that the permission will soon be granted to send the final #TentsToNepal shipment of 50 community shelters, 50 yurts and 65 transitional classrooms that are packed and ready to go to the people who need them: for the rest of monsoon, and especially, for the upcoming Himalayan winter.
In the meantime, there’s been plenty to be busy with on the ground. Friends of India have been collaborating on shelter projects in and around Kathmandu since the beginning of monsoon with Hugging Nepal, an international NGO of volunteers, and more recently, with NO TE Olvides DE Nepal, a Spanish NGO.
Together they set up 14 community tents In Bangamati, providing 56 families with shelter, and clothes and blankets donated to moms with babies and the elderly. “In the end we do not know if they or we were the happiest,” says Andres from NO TE Olvides DE Nepal. This was a project initiated by NO TE Olvides DE Nepal, with #TentsToNepal providing the tents and volunteers from Ramana’s Garden Children’s home, while Hugging Nepal directed the building.
In Chhampi and Chunikhel, solar panels were also installed along with the shelters to 24 grateful families, who helped build the shelters and are now dedicating themselves to sewing for small workshops. The large community shelters serve multiple purposes – not only do they provide a dry space to sleep, and to share food and tea: they are also a workspace for those industriously back at work, stitching, sewing and weaving beautiful traditional carpets and colourful hangings, such as these made by displaced women at the Bakthapur camp.
Another two community tents were set up in the villages of Burunchuli and Lopse. Our Spanish friends No Te Olvides de Nepal have built 12 such community shelters with the canvas donated by Tents to Nepal, where 50 underprivileged families who lost their homes are being sheltered.
Hugging Nepal, NO TE Olvides DE Nepal and Friends Of India have been involved in several initiatives within the Internally Displaced People’s camps, such as the Chuccepati , Bodhr and Sherpa IDPs in Kathmandu, where #TentsToNepal provided the original community shelters.
Health Camps have been co-ordinated with a diverse range of health personnel, such as the Health and Development Society Nepal, to serve the communities with examinations, treatment and a surprising number of dental extractions. Health practitioners specializing in various modalities such as acupuncture have also joined through Mountain Heart Nepal, creating Child Friendly Camps and offering therapies for healing trauma.
In the transitional classrooms, inspired teachers and Hugging Nepal volunteers were engaging enthusiastically with the children in activities. They prepared for weeks to create this flash mob video: Chuccipatti goes Filili to uplift the spirit of the community.
Paulo Thiago from Friends of India says about the event: “We had a great time dancing with the children and residents of Chuccipatti – its so uplifting to see people smiling and having fun, in spite of the terrible conditions they have to live in. Many thanks to #?huggingnepal #?tentstonepal and all the people involved in this magic project!”
As we continue to work on getting the permissions for the third and final truckload of #TentsToNepal offerings to arrive, our collaborating partners ABARI are also visiting government offices for approvals for permanent housing constructions.These designs are part of the next inspiring phase of regenerative work that will begin as soon as the monsoon ends: rebuilding sustainable communities with Model Villages and Community Facility Centers.
Our heartfelt gratitude to all who have donated funds and supplies and continue to send their blessings.