Print Edition - 2015-06-01  |  Earthquake Relief

Karthali locals see a ray of hope

- Anup Ojha, SINDUPALCHWOK
Karthali locals see a ray of hope

May 31, 2015-

It had only been two years since 28-year-old Rita BK and her husband, along with their three-year-old twins, had moved into their newly built, two-storey concrete home at Karthali Village Development Committee Ward no-7 when the Great Earthquake shook the country. The land on which the house was built was on the edge of a slope, and after the shock, the house, along with its cattle shed, was swept away. Rita’s husband had spent Rs 1.2 million to build the property--50 percent of which he had loaned. And just two weeks before the quake, her husband had left for Malaysia to make money to pay back the remaining sum. As for Rita and her two children, they started taking shelter under a tarpaulin, not knowing what to do next.

But on May 30, the Daniel Employment Agency (DEA), a Hong Kong-based organisation, intervened and provided earthquake-resistant shelter to BK and several other families in the village. Like BK, all 40 displaced families, whom the organisation has helped, are from the lower economic strata and have received small temporary shelters made of corrugated zinc sheets. The temporary shelters were made by four students of Pulchwok Engineering Campus, who had been hired by the agency for the purpose.

“We would hold tarpaulins from the inside when there were strong winds at night. We feared it would be blown away. But now, at least we get a few hours of sound sleep,” said Rita.

The co-ordinators of the agency, Nirmal Shrestha and Suroj Gurung, had collected Rs 4.5 million from their close friends living in Hong Kong, China and Macau for quake victims in Nepal. The key to the recently made temporary shelters were officially handed over to quake victims on Saturday, during a programme, which saw the presence of journalists, people from the entertainment industry, psychologists, and therapists who were working in the area. Singers and actors present during the event helped ease the pain of the locals by performing to an audience of 500 villagers, gathered at the premises of Shree Ishowari Mala Primary School in Pokhare.

Shrestha and Gurung have also established a reserve fund of Rs 300,000 for the school and they have opened a fun park for children in the school’s ground, on which they have spent Rs 600,000. On Saturday, dozens of village children were seen happily playing in the fun park. They have also build 10 toilets in the area. During the programme, a sum of Rs 50,000 each was hand over to the three families who had lost their members in the quake.  

“I could not tolerate all the devastating news and wanted to help the people of my country. So Suroj and I chipped in Rs 200,000 each and then requested our close friends to help out too,” said Shrestha. “At first, we were not sure that we could raise enough to help, but when we started the campaign, many benevolent people helped us,” added Shrestha.  Shrestha believes that their work can be an inspiration for many Nepalis living abroad.   

The remote VDC, which is around 102 kilometres east from Kathmandu, has 160 houses in ward number 5, 6 and 7. All the houses in the area have been destroyed by the April 25 quake and its subsequent aftershocks. The VDC has forty houses belonging to the Dalit community, while 60 percent of the VDC’s population comprises Janajatis like Tamang, Gurung, Sherpa and Jirel.   

Krishna Raj Sharma, principal of the school, said that the programme provided a great relief to the people. “The financial assistance that they have provided us with is praiseworthy. Children are happy to have a separate fun-park and this will help them overcome the trauma they are going through. Farmers have received farming tips and ideas on different cash crops from the agro experts, and more than that, the psychological therapy has worked wonders. People are really happy,” said Sharma, who has been teaching in the school for over two decades.

“This time, 40 people from the Dalit community have received assistance, but people belonging to other communities too have been severely affected by the quake. They are also in dire need of such assistance,” said Sharma. “If such programmes come to our village, I am sure that we can rise from this disaster very soon,” he added.

Published: 01-06-2015 07:49

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