Rebuilding a Village, 36 New Homes and Counting...

"Everyone dies one day, you must accumulate good karma."
Translated thank you from the families that received a new home from donations made to J4J

The terrible earthquakes in Nepal in Spring 2015 are gone from of all of our minds, but Liz and I are still providing assistance to families in Nepal.

What's Shakin' Post-Earthquake

Right after the 'quakes, we raised $30,000 for earthquake relief through the kindness of J4J supporters. We used most of the funds to immediately supply first access to food and water, provide tarps and blankets, and then to purchase materials to build shelters and provide adequate roofing. Just in time for the 2015 monsoon, the J4J Community here in Canada had provided rain- and earthquake-proof housing to over 40 extended families. (Round images link to other stories and photos).

However, we held some money in reserve. We knew that the biggest challenges were going to be for the remote villages when international support moved on to the next disaster. While billions of dollars would eventually come into Nepal, most of it has not make it to the people in greatest need. We wanted to try fill the gaps where we could. And we did, supplying the funding to build 36 new homes. This is your story.

This past Spring, one year after the earthquakes, Liz and I travelled back to Nepal. Although Kathmandu was damaged, the earthquake destruction in the villages was catastrophic. We visited just three of the many thousands of villages in Nepal, and they looked like war zones: almost none of the homes were left whole; rubble was everywhere and people were living in very uncomfortable circumstances. (For more photos, click here).

A Village Destroyed

A village in ruins. Rudimentary shelters amongst the rubble. 2.5-story traditional Nepali hillside homes destroyed and rendered uninhabitable.
This is during the dry season: imagine living here during a months-long monsoon.


Walking Past Destruction

Resmi's grandfather (left) and neighbours wander past some remains of their village. Generations-old houses were built of mud and stone: unless the broken walls were protected, they "melted" in the 2015 monsoon into piles of rocks.

We visited Khanigaun, which is the village home of Jasper's mom and Resmi's family. It is only a one day's travel away from Kathmandu, but like all drives in Nepal it is a “put your hands over your eyes, bring the Gravol and don’t look down" kind of trip. This was our 3rd visit in 5 years to this village and it was completely different. We were shocked to see that of the 74 homes there, every single one of them had been either completely destroyed, mostly destroyed or rendered uninhabitable and dangerous due to extensive cracking.

Now, we knew what we were going to do with the remaining balance of your donations.

Since May of this year, we have been working with Sher Bahadur, the school principal of Khanigaun. We could not have done this without our friend Binod S, part of the Vancouver Nepali community, who generously provides translations and makes plenty of late-night phone calls on our behalf. Fortunately for us, Sher Bahadur has a mobile phone that allows him to take and send photos. (For more photos, click here).

Sunita Ranamagar's Shelter

This is typical of the accommodation people have been able to make for themselves re-using materials from broken homes.
Photo credit: Sher Bahadur Thapa Magar.

We sent the remaining $5,000 of your donations to pay for these materials and its transportation, enough building supplies for 36 families to improve or build shelters.

Although the shelters are basic, for people who have been living under tarps and in cobbled-together rock homes, they are a vast improvement over last year's living conditions. While we wish we could have rebuilt the beautiful traditional 2.5-story homes, this at least is a beginning.

We made sure the villagers know that it was hundreds of Canadians who made this direct assistance possible. For westerners, $5,000 is a trip, a used car, or the tiniest of renovations: in Nepal it means safer homes for 36 families. 

We are not good enough writers to express the happiness and gratitude these villagers feel toward the strangers halfway around the world who have helped them. So we will let them tell you in their own way, via this letter we received in mid-September.

Thank-you Letter

Many thanks to Binod S, Quincy W and Jason W for translating the many pages of text we received.

From Kavrepalanchowk, Sarasyun Kharka, Ward #1 - Khanigaun. 
On the date of 25th April 2016, a devastating earthquake destroyed all the homes in the community. People were left homeless for over a year and half and were ignored by the government. Shree Unathi Nare-Chethna IPS [Village Women Farmers' Association] chairman Sher Bahandur Thapa Magar was provided 4 lakh 45 000 244 [$5,000] by Canadian Liz Sister to rebuild. 36 villagers each got one bundle of zinc sheets which protected them from the rain and sun and provided shelter. Everyone dies one day, you must accumulate good karma. To Binodh Shrestha and Liz Sister- we want to thank you very much for your assistance."

Now that we have a trusted and functional direct connection with the village, any addition donations can go directly to the remaining 40 families that need support. Since the construction of these homes this summer, we received a generous single donation of $2,000. These funds are already in the capable hands of Sher Bahadur who is coordinating the purchase and fair distribution of more materials to those who need them most.

One house at a time, we are doing what we can with your help. Please reach out to us if you would like to contribute to rebuilding this one Nepali village.

Receiving Materials

The Village Women Farmers Association receiving sheets of corrugated metal. With the funds provided in the summer, each of 36 women got 11 sheets (one bundle) of the material.
Photo credit: Sher Bahadur Thapa Magar.


A Safer, More Comfortable Home

A safer, more comfortable home for one of the Khanigaun villagers.
Photo credit: Sher Bahadur Thapa Magar.


A Shelter for Working

A dry place to work during monsoon, a shady place during the dry season.
Photo credit: Sher Bahadur Thapa Magar.


Donate and Help Rebuild a Village

(All the photos we received from the Principal are posted to a Facebook album. If you'd like to see them, click here).