Rebuilding with Rikesh
Organized by: Meredeth Bill
Chris and I came to Nepal hoping to find ways to delve deeply into the country and the culture and befriend the people. By chance we were connected to our wonderful friend Rikesh and had the opportunity to visit his village, Phaskot, and be accepted into his family and community with open arms. During our time there, we saw how the earthquake devastated the area, displacing most everyone from their homes into ramshackle tin sheds and chicken coops, and Rikesh shared with us about how they have received no governmental assistance since the disaster and have been effectively left to fend for themselves. On top of this, the government has placed new regulations on any new structures to be built to ensure that they are earthquake-proof - a good thing, except that the required materials are more expensive, and the costs have been driven up even further due to high demand in the rebuilding frenzy since the earthquake. Several people outside of Nepal have tried to crowd-fund to help the village, but without anyone on the ground here to deliver the funds directly, little to none of the money ever reaches Phaskot. In response to all of the relief efforts post-earthquake, the government instituted a policy where any donations coming into Nepali banks from crowd-funding sites go directly into a single pool that the government can then allocate as it sees fit. This was meant to cut down on individuals misusing donated funds or taking advantage of well-meaning foreign donators, but it means that it's very hard for villages like Phaskot to get the support they need to rebuild. Because we are on the ground here in Nepal, and will be here for another two months, we couldn't help but see the opportunity to deliver funds to Phaskot without having to go through a Nepali bank.
After attending an Earth Bag training here in Nepal, we believe that this building method is a cost-effective option for Phaskot to rebuild homes that will be earthquake safe. We will use these funds to send several of Phaskot's residents to an Earth Bag training in a nearby village, and any extra funds will be allocated to building materials.
Phaskot is unprepared as it heads into winter. The thin, tin walls of the villagers' temporary housing is insubstantial to protect them from the elements in the harsh winter months and they have nowhere to store the food that they are currently harvesting and that they will rely on through the cold season. The oncoming winter poses a huge challenge to this sweet little village, and we want to do whatever we can to ensure that they make it through safely. Please don't feel any pressure to donate, but also know that no amount is too small.
To read more about our visit to Phaskot: https://lifesinfronteras.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/visiting-phaskot/
To read about the earthbag training: