Print Edition - 2015-06-04  |  Earthquake Relief

Bhutanese refugees build bamboo huts

- Tika Prasad Bhatta, RAMECHHAP
Bhutanese refugees build bamboo huts

Jun 3, 2015-

A new bamboo shack was erected near the Ramechhap Jail on Wednesday. Markedly different in design from the local buildings, the bamboo-structure was built by Bhutanese refugees from Jhapa.

Out of the 30 such structures the team of Bhutanese refugees plans to build, they have already built three shacks including this one. The other two have been set up at Chyaksu.

“We have come here to help teach our skills to the villagers and not just build bamboo shacks,” team coordinator Sanchahang Subba said. Many Bhutanese refugees living in several camps in Jhapa and Morang have expertise in working with bamboo.

Local Krishna Bahadur Shahi has been quite impressed by the technique used by the refugees. “Despite being somebody else’s technique, I have enjoyed working on their designs,” Shahi, who has been a carpenter for 40 years, said. Many, like Shahi, have come to learn the new method and are now employing it instead of their usual technique. According to the Bhutanese refugees, those villagers who pick up the skills in the next few days will be involved in training others throughout the district.

There are 14 Bhutanese refugees involved in the building campaign. Along with transferring skills, they have put in hours working as labourers as well. “Our main aim is to train others while we do the building ourselves,” Subba said.

To help the refugees in their work, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has provided plastic, ropes, wires and other materials. Representatives from the commission are also included in the team.

The team of Bhutanese refugees arrived in Ramechhap after distributing relief in Sindhupalchok. The team was dispatched to the district after the Chief District Officer of Ramechhap, Sambhu Prasad Marasini, had asked for help.  Out of the several alternatives for sites provided by CDO Marisini for building the shacks, the team chose Ramechhap municipality. After building the three shacks there, they are considering other areas to continue their mission.

The locals, on their part, have welcomed the refugees with much warmth. Refugee Yogen Rai said the villagers have been very kind to them. Even technicians from other places in the district have been coming over to the site to observe the Bhutanese refugees at work.

The villagers said that the bamboo skills they learn will be useful for creating shacks in other places, especially with the monsoon in the offing.

Published: 04-06-2015 07:50

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