Help Rebuild a Village in Nepal
Organized by: Mollie Jensen
NOTE FROM MOLLIE: I had the pleasure of getting to know Kailash Dixit while working as a purchaser for an essential oil company. He is a dedicated farmer who grows plants in Nepal for distilling into essential oils. His kind and gentle nature always made him one of my favorites to work with. After the recent earthquakes that devastated his farmland and community, Mr. Dixit formed a plan of rebuilding a sustainable village by using much of the debris that remained after the quakes. This area is one of the most remote and impoverished in Nepal, and I was moved by his vision of rebuilding and empowering a community. And this is why I decided to host this fundraising campaign in hopes to bring greater attention to his beautiful project. Here are the specifics of his plan. If you could even just spare a few dollars to help it would make a huge difference in the lives of those devastated by the damage. With love, gratitude and thanks, Mollie.
NOTE FROM KAILASH: When I accessed the situation very carefully, I was totally wrecked seeing the devastation. Almost 100% houses are either crumbled up or not in a state to live. I stayed there for 5 days and accessed the situation very carefully. I have been working with them for more than 5 year so I know all the people of the locality who harvest/collect Wintergreen very well. I know how/what they eat, I do understand the value of bartering in their community, I know their lifestyles. I know how their washroom looks like, how smoky they want their kitchen to be, all these littlest facts. Many people came up with some temporary idea like building homes using used plastic bottled water and so forth. I was not very happy with these ideas so I thought I will take the lead because I spend so much time with the inhabitants, the local Sherpas there.
CONCEPT NOTE: Developing a model community housing to Pokali VDC, Okhaldhunga earthquake victims of Okhaldhunga district one of the remote district of Nepal.
INTRODUCTION: Aarya Aroma (A++) is a professionally established essential oil company that closely works with community of low economic group of farmers of Okhaldhunga, especially for Wintergreen and other districts to produce and market absolutely pure, 100 % unaltered essential oil of therapeutic quality made by the distillation of unique range of plants/natural herbs grown in Nepal. A++ have formed a farmer's cooperative where local and indigenous people participate in cultivation and production of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. These people have been significantly dependent on our company for their livelihood and raising their socio-economic status as the cooperative has equipped them with an opportunity by providing employments and promoting cultivation in community forest and marginal private and owned by the farmers. Aarya Aroma, as a responsible organization, is facilitating the less privileged farmers and the indigenous people by technology transfer in cultivation and production of their plants and has guaranteed a market for the collected or cultivated raw materials.
BACKGROUND: Unfortunately the deadly earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 and April 26 left 17,000 families homeless in Okhaldhunga-district. According to the data collected by the District Natural Disaster Committee, 8084 houses has been completely destroyed and 9800 houses has incurred damages and are unfit for living. The earthquake victims are spending their days and nights in the open spaces. 18 people have died after being buried in their houses whereas 88 people are injured. Similarly five health posts and one area police office has been completely destroyed. As a result, many of our farmers have been left with no home, food or water and basic services. The government relief work has not been able to reach there yet completely and these farmers are far from having any stable shelter in the near future and with the raining season coming, they are going to have even more hardship.
STRATEGY AND PLAN: Since we cannot reach out to everyone, we envision supporting the poorest of the poor community who live on less than USD 5.00 per day. With my own contribution and the contribution from international community, I propose the following strategy.
1. To help plan, and build a model community low cost housing of 7-8 houses, with a separate community bathroom and kitchen using local state of art technology such as solar or peltric set to produce electrify, biogas to produce necessary energy needed for domestic use. The idea is to create a model that attracts other habitant, government and donors to follow the same to extend the support to other part of and district.
2. To help rebuild community houses of approximately 500sq ft, mostly with recycling debris. These houses will be rebuild from the reuse of stone, woods, and corrugated sheets from debris of damages houses, with utmost attention to structural safety, as well as reusing salvageable doors and windows. In my estimation, 50 % of the debris materials are reusable.
3. The structure and design of these homes will be improvised to make it earthquake friendly. The initial estimated of cost of subsidy to build one house would be USD 6000 per house. Families will only be relocated within a radius of 1-1.5 km to reduce their hardship, keeping them 10-15 minutes walking distance to their farms.
4. The model community housing will be as designed to be sustainable as possible using their natural resources. One example is to construct micro hydropower plants at a cost of USD 4-5k, which could provide lighting for 15-20 homes.
5. Bio gas plants will be built using human waste and/or cattle dung. This would allow an alternative source of cooking fuel for up to 6 months, which would alleviate the need to consume precious trees for fire.
6. The people in this locale are unable to shower because of extreme cold, so for proactive hygienic reasons, we would build a common bathing area for the families. The water will be heated using solar energy and be partitioned by a common wall for males and females.
7. In the mountains, there are no specific playgrounds for the children. There would be a designated area built for their playtime and recreation.
8. Plans are already in order for this project. I have contacted the best advertising company in Nepal to create a 5-minute presentation, using my own photos. This includes images prior to the earthquake, present conditions and the future community of these model village homes. Once completed, I will forward the presentation promptly.
9. In order to establish a sense of ownership and responsibility, our financial support will be 80%, with the remaining 20% paid by the villagers.
10. My appeal to the donor foundations is that it is of the utmost importance that the appropriated funding reaches the neediest families. We do not yet have a local government and so it is imperative we do a model job as good citizens. In turn, we will be teaching by example and it will increase the capacity to learn from this catastrophe. We must be equally transparent on how money is allocated, while being most economical in all endeavors.
Sincerely, Kailash Dixit