Good news from Nepal! Our humanitarian work in that country is nominated for the Ockenden International Prize. We are one of the three finalists for the prestigious award. On top of that, we are proud to say that the first families who lost their homes have moved in the earthquake proof houses that are part of our shelter program.
Emphasis on self reliance
We are nominated for the vital support of displaced people in Rasuwa district, Nepal, started right after the devastating earthquakes of April and May 2015. Judges of the Ockenden prize were impressed by the emphasis on refugee or IDP self reliance.
Displaced families aren’t passively depending on emergency aid. They show incredible resilience.
Milan Mukhia, Cordaid country representative in Nepal
Displaced families show incredible resilience
Milan Mukhia, Cordaid’s country representative in Nepal: “This nomination rewards hard work and tireless efforts by the displaced families, our partner Parivartan Patra and Cordaid staff. In four IDP camps we work with 500 mountain families whose entire villages were destroyed, whose sources of income vanished after the earthquakes. They were displaced to the lower belt of Rasuwa. The weather here is hot and humid, demanding completely different forms of agriculture. We help them sustain their life in the lower belt of Rasuwa with new livelihood opportunities, provide drinking water and help them to use waste water for vegetable farming and kitchen gardening in the camps. And we offer business skills training and cash for work to restore their income. But it’s the families themselves who show incredible resilience. They improve their own livelihood inside the camps, mingle with the host community, share their knowledge and skills and keep on sending their kids to schools. They aren’t passively depending on emergency aid.”
The winner of the 2017 Ockenden prize, to be presented in late February or early March next year, will receive $100,000.
“This house is our paradise”
Parallel to our work inside the IDP camps we implement an early recovery program in two severely affected communities in Rasuwa, together with Lumanti. Part of our work there is the construction of 380 houses, for which the Nepalese Reconstruction Authority had given us green light in September. With technical and financial support from Cordaid families immediately started building their own earthquake proof houses.
We are much better protected against heavy rains and earth quakes.
Lal Bahadur and Batuli Maya
Today, merely 2,5 months later, the first three families have now moved in their new homes in the village of Lahrepauwa. 1,5 year after disaster struck they can finally settle, plan ahead and pick up their lives. Chandra Bahadur (73) and his wife Fulmaya (72): “We have our house back now. This is our paradise to live in. Thanks to all those who provided us shelter.”
Chandra Bahadur and Fulmaya in fron of their new house (for which they used existing building materials)
Lal Bahadur (50) and his wife Batuli Maya (45), who moved in with their two granddaughters, put it like this: “Now we do not have to be afraid of the next monsoon. We are much better protected against heavy rains and earthquakes.”
Lal Bahadur, Batuli Maya and their two granddaughters…
…and their new house.
Milan Mukhia, Nepali himself, is delighted with the Ockenden prize. But the dire situation of many thousands of displaced families still live in makes it bittersweet. Mukhia: “Of the thousands of IDP families, many are coping relatively well, in camps as well as in host communities. But most of them still cannot return to their destroyed villages. Reallocation or resettlement plans are unclear. Some displaced families have leased private land, but the owners now need the land for agricultural purposes. Elderly IDPs are among the most vulnerable as they have no means to generate income. This asks for more humanitarian support, but the reality is that our budgets are not sufficient to prolong our work in Rasuwa very much longer. So the prize money is very welcome.”