How the work at Shrinathkot has inspired the Government, the locals and ACN itself

relief  inspiration

Asal Chhimekee Nepal, PCC, has taken the responsibility of rebuilding and rehabilitating Shrinathkot VDC, an affected village in the district of Gorkha. Collaborating with government agencies, ACN distributed 360 bundles of CGI sheets and rupees 38,25,000 cash (for the people who did not want the CGI sheets). The day was not a typical day in Gorkha.
Bags of cash and a temporary warehouse for CGI sheets were casually guarded by the police, who were familiar to the villagers. The government officials were present among the villagers and all seemed to be united for a purpose, to get the things distributed.

People were waiting outside in a line, to have their turns in signing the papers and getting their share. But still something did not make much sense. When bags of cash were brought into a village so devastated, and necessary supplies were being brought in, why were people in not any hurry? Why wasn’t anybody complaining about the management, or the long wait or even the inadequacy of the supplies? There was a story deeper than what one could see witnessing the very day.

ACN had taken a step forward in helping the Shrinathkot VDC, as per the agreement with the government. And as per, it was now going to distribute the supplies. It could have done it by itself, just by notifying the agencies, but decided, it would collaborate with the government in the whole rebuilding process. It was a not a usual thing. In the light of irregularities of the governmental agencies who were also being targeted by the media, these agencies have not been trusted by many national and international organizations. Most simply overstep their authority and carry out the relief themselves. These agencies which have tremendous pressure and lack of resources are left watching. People do not simply trust them in handing over the resources. Especially with bigger funds and projects. When ACN decided to hand over the check of NRs. 38,000 and the CGI sheets, the District Disaster Response Committee were amazed and encouraged by their trust in the Government.

They were grateful and thanked ACN and PCC for the resources and significant amount of trust. The Chief District Officer said, “This is a very great day for me. This is the first time that such a big fund has been handed to the Disaster Response Committee. This is going to be an example for all the organizations who have not trusted the government and carried out on their own but also an encouragement to the government agencies who have lost hope. We have finally got the chance and will show everybody how much can be achieved by working together with the government. We will keep the copy of the check in such a place where everybody coming to this office can clearly see. We have always been transparent and have kept the records down to a single plastic cup that we purchased, we will do even better and will let everybody know.”
He further thanked ACN and told that he was very impressed from the transparency and zeal of the whole fund collection. He thought that an organization like this would never fail.

Everybody there knows that the resources were from Christian people from Pokhara and other Christians from all over the world. Christian organizations have themselves been victims of shallow and superficial observations before. The government and locals have also been suspicious about the funds and interests of Christian missions. This had become a chance for ACN to show its transparency to the government bodies and the local people. Also a moment where ACN did not decide to overstep the authority and worked with a collaborative approach with the government. Now, within a few weeks, the perspective of viewing Christian missions by the government in Gorkha has certainly changed. They are more eager to collaborate. And in future, if ACN were to need any assistance by the government, there will be no lack of trust and support.

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Further, the minds of the locals have been changed. We have to understand that this is a very remote village and accepting the presence of Christianity is a very big thing for them. After PCC and ACN did such a remarkable job, they have opened their doors to Christians. If anybody went to the village telling he/ she is a Christian, they will be welcoming with open hearts. The church in the village which was not very acceptable before, has now become very respectable in the eyes of the people.

And the relation between the Christian locals and other locals is not the only relation that has been restored. After this transparent and energetic project, locals have become very appreciative of the government agencies. ACN will be there only for a certain period of time but the government (which has been able to gain confidence from the community) will be there with them forever.

So, at this point, it is very fair to say that because of the joint endeavor of Christians from Pokhara and outside Nepal, and the collaborative approach of the government and ACN, people are inspired and excited about the future. ACN has a long term commitment with the community and itself is inspired to do more work, building an organic relation. The future of the VDC seems very bright.

 

We, at Earthquake Relief – A wider story

 

Nepal, has been known to the World as the land of mighty Himalayas. But we know that has not been the topic about Nepal from the 25th of April, this year.
Till now, the death toll has been reported at more than 8,710 and rising as we discover new bodies. 19 districts of Nepal have been affected where 14 are assumed to be affected severely.
The communities and amounts of their support for Nepal are stories on their own. Emergency supports have been given by many from foreign agencies to Nepali individuals. ACN is not an exception in its attempt to try and rebuild what has been destroyed, in a spectrum from physical to psychological damage.

As many of us may already know, ACN, integrated with the Pokhara Christian Community has launched a full- phase relief and rehabilitation attempt. PCC/ACN: has been focusing on the Shrinathkot in building rapport with the communities there and helping government where possible. Last weeks were focused basically on exploring more about the VDC. Food supply continues if there is any desperate needs know to us. The update data of the distribution of the relief supplies has reached 8895+ households (approx. 38385 populations) and the coverage is as below:

Households Population Villages (VDCs) Districts
8895 + 38385 + 41 + 7 +

We have compiled a short video to help understand what the situation is like …

 

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ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED

Food Distribution:

20150711_155927Pokhara: 79 households were chosen for the second distribution in Pokhara. These households were mostly those who have relatives from Gorkha and Dhading staying with them.

 

Thumi village, Gorkha: Thumi is approximately 200 km from Gorkha and due to the rain was very difficult to reach. We had been told that it would not be possible to take food to this area directly, but we were very keen to do so. It took our team 6 days to get there. The trucks got stuck; the road was blocked by trees, mud and landslides. The team faced lots of challenges; they didn’t have enough food with them and found it hard to find places to stay. It was also difficult to find trucks and tractors to move the goods. However finally they did it and 1230 households in Thumi received a food package each. The packages included 30 kgs rice, 2 kgs lentil, 1 ltr oil, 1 kg salt- enough food for the village for a month. The villagers really appreciated the effort our team made to bring food to them and thanked them for the good quality and the quantity. This brings our total food distribution in phase one to 9500 households (45,000 people).

Feedback meeting in Shreenathkot, Gorkha:

The villagers told us that they were happy with the quality of the food we had supplied, the materials, the training, and the work with the children. They were also pleased with the way that ACN/PCC had managed to deliver services directly to the target communities. One leader asked whether we were there to convert them to our faith. We used that question as an opportunity to explain why we as Christians, were involved with the disaster relief and to explain about the collaboration of people around the globe who truly love them and have given generously.

DSC00773Children’s health camp – Shreenathkot, Gorkha:

A children’s health camp was held for a week at Simle in Shreenathkot. Each day more than 100 children attended the camp. The team carried out various hygiene activities such as shaving their hair, bathing them and teaching them how to use toothpaste. They dressed their wounds and treating diseases such as scabies. They also ran fun activities for the children and taught them about nutrition. The team consisted of health workers and volunteers with special gifts working with children. Brother Altamir and Sister Ana came from Brazil to help with health activities and were extremely helpful in this camp.

DSC01189Water filter distribution:

A 2 nd lot of water filters (from Water With Blessings) were distributed. The filters were given only to those who were willing to share with at least two families. Most people receiving filters were lower cast people who are most at risk from contaminated water.

Movements

Satoshi and Youki returned home to Japan. Altamir and Ana also returned to Malaysia – but we hope, they will come back to help when health post work starts. Brother Greg and Anthony with their wives from World Concern have arrived. They are helping us with project design and with setting up systems for future work. Tim, Sonia and Hannah who helped us especially on the Dhawa and Thumi trip also have left. We appreciate their support.

The next stage

Seed Distribution: 800 packs of composite vegetable seeds packs purchase have been ordered. People in the villages are currently engaged in planting rice and millet. When they have finished this, the seeds will be distributed.

Toilet construction: Janajagriti and Arkul primary schools have requested help to construct toilets. We plan to do this in the next few weeks.

Building approval for the health post and the Village Development Committee (VDC) office: The local community have raised money to buy land for a new VDC office and they have cleared the site using a bulldozer. Approval for this building is needed from the District Development Committee (DDC). We are now asking them about this. Unfortunately we still have not got permission from the DDC to rebuild the health post. We may have to bypass them and go straight to the Ministry of Health to gain approval and get the guidelines for how it should be built.

School construction work: This is a massive project as 10 schools need to be constructed. Consultations with the local community and the relevant government section will begin when we know what funding is available for this task.

Children’s health camp in September: Based on the need seen in the community and those expressed by the people, there will be another health camp in September. This camp will focus on treatment of disease, hygiene awareness for mothers, nutrition and psychological support and will be supported by Dr. Arian Gurung a podiatrist.

Finance

  • Of the NPR 50 million (USD 500,000) that has been raised so far approximately 50% has been spent. Thank you for your generous gifts and your trust in us. We stepped out in faith with only NPR 500,000 (USD 5000) and we are so thankful to God for His faithfulness and blessings to us.
  • A new fiscal started in Nepal on the 17th of July. We have therefore closed our accounts for last year and started afresh with the remaining funds.

Cost for future work:

The preliminary plan shows NPR 115 million (USD 1.15 million) will be required for the health post, schools, VDC Office reconstruction, community radio installation and livelihood support work in 2-3 years of time. A concept note on this is available on request.

AN URGENT NEED

Our future support in Shreenathkot relies heavily on our presence there. We have to make frequent journeys to the area which is approximately 100 km/5 hours driving from Pokhara and is only accessible via unsurfaced roads. Up until now we have rented a jeep each time we have gone to Shreenathkot or elsewhere, however this is not a long term solution, as renting a jeep costs NPR 20,000 (USD 200) per day. As we are now committed to working in the area for at least the next two years, we feel it will be more cost effective to buy a 4 wheeler jeep to support our on-going work in this region. This will be a big initial outlay (an Indian make costs approximately NPR 3,500,000) but it has become a necessity.

 

Special prayer requests for

  • Wisdom in formulating project proposals.
  • Funding assurance for the future work.
  • Approval from the Government for the construction projects.
  • The regular work of ACN which needs to be picked up and resumed.
  • Funds for a jeep.

 

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