Two years since the devastating earthquakes, good progress is being made rebuilding infrastructure in the communities where NAFA works.
NAFA has allocated $448,000 across five districts of Nepal – Dhading (Tawal, Kutal, Ladap and Richet), Solu Khumbu (Kophu), Okhaldhunga (Patale and Dhuperserki), Dolakha (Shyama) and Sindulpulchowk (Jitpur) – to rebuild or repair 40 classrooms, build a gabion wall and rebuild infrastructure for an agricultural co-op.
We’re hoping to raise an additional $50,000 to complete the rebuilding in four villages in the Dhading district (Hilly Region only 20 kms from epicentre of Gorkha earthquake in April 2015).
NAFA has also allocated funds to ensure the quality of construction, including getting specialist advice about the design, training workers and employing engineers to oversee construction. The design and building techniques used will resist damage and hopefully prevent deaths from potential earthquakes in the future.
Villages provide volunteer labour for rebuilding
NAFA always expects volunteer contribution from villagers in all funded projects. This engenders the spirit of partnership and ownership within communities and helps drive NAFA’s hard earned donations and fundraising income further.
Villagers greatly appreciate NAFA’s support, and are making significant contributions to rebuilding, e.g.:
– dismantling destroyed classrooms
– sorting reusable materials (tin, stone, etc)
– carrying sand, cement, stone & roofing to building sites (up to 4 hours walk)
– coordinating paperwork/finances at district offices 1 day’s travel/walk away.
Some of the most significant contributions have been the clearing and excavating of land. This task in Patle (for 4 classrooms) took 350 man days volunteer labour! The excavation of land for the Tawal school involved digging out and breaking up 1,000s of rocks – some as big as cars – all by hand, as there is no machinery in these areas.
Women have been preparing stone aggregate (made by hitting larger stones through a hole made in a rubber thong) needed in the mix with cement, sand and water for concreting.
Villagers make this contribution willingly and with purpose and pride. “The work has been hard and difficult at times but we want to get these classrooms finished so our children can get a better education and hopefully have a better life than we have had”, said Baibahadur Rai, the co-ordinator in Kophu.
Queensford College helps women increase their incomes
Women of Tawal in the remote Hilly Region of Nepal are benefitting from a NAFA program to develop tailoring businesses. The Brisbane-based VET provider, Queensford College, donated $6,893 for the program. Ten sewing machines were purchased, and twenty women participated in business development and specialist tailoring workshops.
Two women already have employment as a result of the training and others are setting up sewing businesses in their villages. NAFA is now working with the women to develop products that can be sold outside the Hilly Region.
Villagers see their first dentist
A generous NAFA donor has enabled people living in 25 villages around Tawal (Hilly Region) to receive valuable dental care. Five female Nepali dentists from Kathmandu-based Kantipur Dental College Teaching Hospital and Research Centre spent four days in Tawal in late February assessing, screening and treating patients and providing much-needed community education about oral hygiene.
The dentists treated 208 patients. Irregular brushing of teeth was identified as a major issue. The Dental Surgeon leading the specialist camp, Dr Dhakal, said “With enforcement of knowledge through oral hygiene instruction our team hopes the oral hygiene will get better when we visit here the next time.”
Thimi students learn life skills
In late 2016/ early 2017, Grade 10 students at VSN School in Thimi, Kathmandu participated in a series of workshops to develop their skills in making a successful transition from school to living independently. NAFA was fortunate to have two social work students, Minghan Deng and Avalon Wood, to deliver this program (under the supervision of NAFA Research Officer, Dr Deb Setterlund and with valuable assistance from the Joy Foundation and NAFA Vice-President Brenda Hazelwood).
Students covered topics such as developing self-esteem, perseverance and strengths, positive thinking, goal setting, effective team work, understanding risk, making good choices and developing good support networks. At the end of the program one student commented:
“Having good self-esteem in life is necessary in order to be successful, as you have to be confident to achieve your goals in life.”