“I started feeling anxious, depressed, and isolated from my family and my community. No one was helping me.”
When the earthquake struck in Nepal on 25 April 2015, it was not only Goma’s house that collapsed, but her entire life. Her husband left the damaged house to live with his second wife. Her two sons moved to Kathmandu in search of better employment opportunities. She found herself alone, dealing with the visible and invisible consequences of the earthquake. For more than two years, she lived in poor hygiene conditions under a leaky tarpaulin. “During the rainy season, the water came inside. I was cold. I was dreaming about a new place to call home, but I didn’t know what to do”, she said.
All We Can’s supporters responded generously and immediately with life-saving gifts that enabled humanitarian aid to be distributed straight after the Nepal earthquake. Some of the money raised through the 2015 Nepal Earthquake Appeal was also allocated to the reconstruction of people’s homes. After the earthquake, the Government of Nepal launched an ambitious reconstruction plan with the aim of not only rebuilding, but to build safer houses, following strict building codes and employing trained masons. But for the people of Ramechaap district, east of Kathmandu, the task was not easy. “The registration process that allowed people to receive a grant from the government was very long and required a lot of paperwork. Many people could not read or write and found the process very complex” say Devraj, a project worker with one of All We Can’s trusted humanitarian aid partners in the region.
With thanks to All We Can supporters, Goma and others like her, now have new houses. A local engineer supporting the rebuilding of Goma’s home said, “We provide support during the different phases of the reconstruction process. We serve as a bridge between the local government and beneficiaries to make sure they understand the documentation required to obtain the government grants. We also help them purchase and transport the construction materials and provide technical supervision by qualified engineers to make sure their new houses are built according to the government codes for earthquake-resilient buildings.” However, building dignified and safe places to live encompasses more than just constructing new walls. “We want our people to live in safe and healthy conditions”, he says. “When we build people’s houses, we also construct improved toilet facilities and train people on healthy hygiene behaviours”.
“I am happy now”, says Goma Devi. For her, having a new house is not only the promise of a better future – it is also proof of the solidarity that is possible when people come together and unite during a crisis: “I know I am safe in my new house”, she adds. “And now I know I am not alone anymore.”
Thank you to the All We Can supporters that gave so generously in 2015 – your donations still continue to have an impact in the lives of people like Goma.
Images: Tamara Berger/Medair