Nepal: three years on
April 25th, 2018 marks the three-year anniversary of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck Nepal in 2015, leaving nearly 8,900 people dead and more than 22,000 people injured. More than 600, 000 homes were destroyed, and one million children were left unable to go to school. Less than three weeks later, Nepal suffered another quake of 7.3 magnitude.
Jesuit Missions is a member of the Xavier Network which has been working with local partner, Nepal Jesuit Social Institute (NJSI), since the disaster to help with the reconstruction and rehabilitation as well as looking towards the future and working to prevent further disasters.
In the first emergency phase, between April and August of 2015, we coordinated with NJSI to distribute humanitarian aid to more than 7, 000 families. This included food, water purification capsules, tents, blankets and other utensils in the urban area of Kathmandu and in the most affected districts of Dhading, Gorkha, Kavre, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha, Okhaldunga and Lalitpur.
In the second phase of Early Recovery, September to December 2015, NJSI focused on the distribution of furniture and school supplies, supporting more than 20, 000 students from around 100 schools. The main goal was to ensure that children could continue with their education as soon as possible to try and sustain a relative normality and stability in their live following the trauma in which they had suffered.
The Reconstruction and Development phase started in January 2016 serving the most remote and rural populations. NJSI has worked in 13 Nepalese districts with the contribution from the Xavier Network and helped to construct more than 130 classrooms, including the installation of anti-seismic devices, making it easier for students to attend classes safely. “The students were very scared and felt insecure because of the earthquake. Even parents didn’t want to let their children go to school,” explains Balaran, a teacher at the Bisheswari school in Suri District.
Additionally, since the earthquake NJSI has built fourteen community centres for women. These have been used as a social place of gathering for women in the communities as well as a place to attend courses, including computer workshops and women empowerment programmes.
“We no longer need to gather on the side of a dusty road, under a blazing sun, to talk about our social agenda,” says Laxmi, one of the women who comes to the women’s centre in Kunta, in the Kavre District. “Now we can use the centre to conduct empowerment courses and hold social and religious celebrations.”
Three years after the earthquake, Jesuit Missions continues to support the NJSI through their work with the Xavier Network.
This article was first published on the Jesuit Missions's website.
You can support the Jesuits' relief support in Nepal by donating to the Jesuit Missions Appeal