After 2 major earthquakes, hundreds of aftershocks and persistent landslides, communities in Dolakha district, Nepal have been forced to relocate. Uncertainties remain for these families, who are unsure how long they can stay in their temporary homes.
For mothers and their children, this has been especially challenging. Babies are being born throughout earthquake-affected communities and children are growing up in temporary shelters. During winter these temporary homes were often unable to keep children warm and dry.
Plan International’s cash-for-work programme connects community members with short-term employment so they can earn an income, provide for their children and rebuild their communities. More than 7,800 people have participated in the programme following the Nepal earthquakes.
“We were temporarily displaced by the earthquake but have been permanently displaced by the landslide,” says 21-year-old Minmaya. “It is challenging living here. My husband works as a driver in Charikot (the capital of Dolakha district). He returns home once a week. I don’t know if I want to return home, we have nothing to go back to.”
“I have 5 daughters,” says BishnuMaya. “The youngest is 2 months old. I worry about my children during the winter. We are using whatever we can to stay warm. Houses were damaged in the first earthquake. My children and I were so scared. We had small barns where our cows lived, so we slept in there.
"I have nothing to go back to"
“Our houses here are temporary and I feel scared that another landslide will occur. If this happens we will have to move again. I don’t want to think about going back because my whole community lives here. If people go back, I will too. But everything was destroyed, so I have nothing to go back to.”
I’m going to invest in educating my child
BishnuMaya is raising her children in their temporary community while her husband walks to their old village to take care of their remaining livestock. Before the earthquake, he was a mason but is now unable to find similar work in their new community.
Debaki’s house was destroyed by the first earthquake. With her husband working overseas, she joined Plan International’s cash-for-work programme and became a female leader in her community. Her role was to supervise 25 people to build a path from their village to the main road.
Cash for work
“I was given the task to find women who are vulnerable and could work. I am so happy that we decided to work, females and males together. I feel proud that we could work equally and I am satisfied that my team members were equally paid,” said Debaki.
“For one month, the cash-for-work team made a path up a hill. The money I used from my work allowed me to buy plates and glasses for my home. I’m going to invest the rest in educating my child.”
Sita is a single mother. Without a husband and support from her extended family, she has struggled to rebuild her home. Her main source of income is selling goats and millet. However, Sita has earned additional income through Plan International’s cash-for-work programme.
“With the money I earned I bought some clothes for my sons and saved the rest for their education. The education of both my sons is a priority.”