April 25 2016

Nepal Earthquake Anniversary: How we Empowered Sanu to Build her Village’s resilience

When the 7.9 earthquake hit Nepal on April 25th 2015, Sanu Maiya Tamang, 32, lost everything. Her house collapsed and buried her family’s possessions; her goats were killed; and she lost the family’s reserve of millet flour, grains, rice, and lentils. Her village in the Nuwakot district was hard-hit. Food and relief was scarce and Sanu, her husband, and two young children slept in the fields for months.

Sanu_Solar trainingNow, Karuna-Shechen’s Earthquake Rehabilitation Program has transformed her life by giving her access to access to the skills and resources she needs to provide for her family and help rebuild her community. She and her village are beneficiaries of three sectors (agriculture, solar lighting, and first aid training) of our long-term relief program.

Under our auspices, Sanu and twenty-three other women trained in Kathmandu to become a solar engineer, returning to their villages to install solar lights in homes of earthquake-affected communities.

I loved the training,” Sanu recounts. “None of us had any prior knowledge of solar electricity. The most challenging part was to learn about the different wires and tools. But the most wonderful part of this training was how all the women bonded. Exchanging about our difficult lives also gave us strength and motivated us to make a real long-lasting change.”

Before the earthquake Sanu was a community health volunteer so she understands the value of creating a network of local health volunteers who can offer primary medical care and save lives. Now, she will be a leader in our first-aid training sessions in her area.

first aid training program 1

Finally, Sanu will be a part of our agriculture program. Most people in her village and surrounding areas are small subsistence farmers. Our objective is to build a community long-term strategy to combat food insecurity by teaching the population sustainable organic farming. This includes methods of how to make natural fertilizer and pesticide, how to select and plant seeds as well as soil management and other techniques.

Our projects empower villagers,” explains Sanjeev Pradhan, Karuna-Shechen Field Director. “We train them and encourage them to build on their own know-how to create better living conditions for themselves and to share what they have learned with neighboring villages. This philosophy of building self-sufficiency is the bases of all our programs.”

We are supporting over 58 rural communities as part this strategy. Motivated villagers like Sanu are becoming actively involved in our rehabilitation projects. They are an essential link between Karuna-Shechen, our local partners, and the communities, and their commitment and enthusiasm are the key to the long-term success of our programs.