In the village of Bharpak, the epicenter of last year’s earthquake, people are slowly starting to rebuild their lives. Almost every house in this village was destroyed, but day by day remnants from the broken houses are being salvaged and tin is replacing tarpaulins and tents. However winter has hit hard and with an altitude of 2260 meters, for those who are still in tents or even those living under tin, it’s very cold. On Sunday PCC/ACN with support from INF, distributed blankets, beanies, shawls and jackets in Bharpak. At the request of local government authorities, 1457 households received a bundle which will help keen their family warm and cozy. There are around 25 households who were missed out to make identity cards will be covered on the next trip to Gumda as it was requested by the village leaders.
From midday till midnight last Saturday, young people from local churches were helping with packing the supplies into bundles and then onto the trucks. The team of ACN and INF staff along with church pastors and young people, traveled together with trucks of supplies to Bharpak on Sunday. The local people welcomed the group and were very grateful for the practical help. Every person who received one of the bundles had a story to tell of their experience of the earthquake and how they have been surviving since.
As well as the practical help PCC/ACN were able to offer, the local church pastor said that he was especially grateful that churches in Pokhara were showing such concern for the people of Bharpak. He said it demonstrated to the whole community that churches are willing to care for those around them. He said it was an example of being salt and light as Jesus has commanded.
Yesterday and today the young people from
Pokhara churches and the staff of ACN have been packing again. Two big trucks along with one of INFN left early morning at 3 pm to Gorkha with 14 staff and volunteers to help. There were 6 4×4 wheeler trucks waiting in Barhakilo near Gorkha Headquarters to received supplies from those trucks to Gumda. Gumda neighbors Bharpak so was similarly affected by the earthquake, however Gumda is more remote again. Gumda has 645 households (with some extra if obviously there are households who do not have identity cards) and each will receive the same blankets, shawls, beanies and jackets as in Bharpak.
We have prepared the rest of the packs for the next village. WYAM DTS team, volunteers from the churches in Pokhara, staff from RC EKTA Lamachaur helped and worked hard in packaging. As informed by District Government, other organisations have reached Laprak and we will be assigned another village for help and we are waiting to hear about that.
Please pray for the team as they are travelling out again for distribution. Pray for safety as they travel and that the goods they take would be of both practical help and encouragement to those who receive them. And pray for the people of Bharpak, Gumda and other villages nearby. That they would be keep safe through this cold season and that rebuilding work could progress quickly.
SPECIAL THANKS TO
EKTA Books team in Kathmandu specially Mr. RC Timothy, his family and staff team who greatly supported our team to acquire supplies by dealing with the suppliers and arranging payments for the supplies as it was not possible for us due to distance to do so. INF, who helped us by providing staff, vehicles and finance. Brother Christopher who had YWAM DTS international team – he sent them to help in packing supplies. The churches in Pokhara for sending their people to help and they participated in the trip. The generous givers for this project and you all who have been very much part of us in prayers and supporting us in many ways to respond to the needs of people hit by the earthquake and the recent intense cold.
School materials were distributed to around 700 students of Shree Laxmi Higher Secondary and Sailaputri Higher Secondary Schools in Gorkha. The set included school stationery items, bag and sanitary items for girls.
These schools were left out in the first distribution and the District Education Office requested PCC/ACN to help in this. Children and the schools appreciated this support.
There is a little presence of “healthcare” in rural Nepal. Health Posts are the pillars of health services that the government provides in these areas. Most of these facilities were turned into debris by the Earthquake of April,2015.
Shrinathkot is not an exception to this situation. The small facility that the government ran was beside the Village Development Office, both were destroyed. The local government and the community had been coordinating with ACN for the rebuilding of these facilities.
Finally the day came. This November, the foundations of the healthpost were laid in the presence of local governing bodies, the community and staff from ACN.
ACN will be taking the responsibility of the building project for healthpost.
Following is a collection of pictures from the programme
Total household covered during food and non-food distribution was 933 household of around 3000 population benefitted by the distribution scattered at 9 camps and living in temporary shelters from the past 6 months after earthquake hit on 25th April, 2015.
According to the report gathered from survey in the camps, lives of people was miserable and especially newly delivered women, children, old aged people. For the distribution ACN got request letter from affected people and recommended by respective village development committee and District Administration Office.
ACN supported displaced people of earthquake and landslide by providing them food and non-food supplies to save lives from starving by distributing relief materials from 19th to 20th October, 2015 for displaced people at 9 different camps having temporary shelter in Dhading Besi camps living there from past 6 months. PCC/ACN provided rice, lentil, cooking oil, salt, sugar, bitten rice, spices, tea on food items and blankets on non-food items and bath soap, washing soap, toothpaste, comb, nail-cutter, toothbrush, pyush (water guard) and sanitary pad on hygiene and sanitation kits for basic survival.
2 heavy trucks were loaded with the materials and extra medium size 14 trucks were hired for distribution at 9 different camps.
During the distribution a team of 25 members (PCC- 3, World Concern- 3, ACN Staff- 8, Media-2 and Volunteers- 9) were involved in the delivery and distribution of the relief materials for 933 households who were living in 9 different camps (Dhansar Pakha, Daam Gade, Tato Pani, Pokhari Rato Mate, Kusunde Chaur, Tallo Aahale Dhola, Chanpe Danda, Bhuwalpala Dhola and Alche Danda). Next day on 29th October, 2015, distribution team was divided into 3 to 5 members each with one leader to lead the distribution. Relief materials were distributed to each household directly.
The list of materials each household got is listed below:
Unit per HH
The following is a collection of glimpses from the programme
Teachers’ Training on Teaching English and Basic Disaster Risk Reduction Training
7th October, the RC Complex, a popular venue in Pokhara for seminars and trainings, was reverberant with enthusiastic murmurs of a herd of people. But the indistinguishable chatters were not native to the Pokhara’s dialect. In midst of village-style Nepali, one could hear some English sentences followed by friendly chuckles. The day was the finale of three days long training programmes, entitled “Teachers’ Training on Teaching English” and “Basic Disaster Risk Reduction training”.
The trainings were friendly, the trainings were funny, but most of all, it was an emotional moment for everyone. The Participants from 11 schools had 14 english teachers (for teachers’ training) and 21 participants including 10 women (for Risk Reduction Trianing) were all from Shrinathkot, which at this point, we all know was a badly affected region by the Earthquake we saw, a few months ago. May be this was a milestone for everyone who participated; as a point of time where they realized: now, we have crossed the “being a victim” phase and started the “we are rebuilding” phase.
The trainers for “Basic Disaster Risk Reduction Training” were invited from the Red Cross Society Kaski. Mr. Khimraj Sapkota and Hari Bandhu Aryal both were not new to the people of Shrinathkot, as they both had been there during their emergency rescue efforts at the time of earthquake. The training covered important topics like Risk, Vulnerability, Coping capacity, Mitigation, Resilience, Early warning system and rehabilitation.
The trainers for the Teachers’ Training on Teaching English Dr. Arthur and Mrs.Hillary Jones, both with a huge background in teaching English, explained how this was going to help the teachers of Gorkha, build a sustainable and progressive community. Shrinathkot is topographically challenged and economically backward region. Eventually, the products of schools in Gorkha will have to compete with the products from major cities in Nepal for jobs and also, further studies. English is a prerequisite for career in the modern world. Hopefully, teachers from this training can produce students with good, academic English, which will help the community have hopes for a better future. And also, if these teachers can go back and train other fellow teachers from surrounding villages, this can benefit exponentially.
In the certificate distribution ceremony, the participants shared how encouraged they were by the enthusiasm of people from outside their village to help and rebuild them, and that they were confident, they could learn more from trainings like this in the future and certainly try their best in rebuilding their community, only this time, stronger and more resilient than before. May be they can; may be they will.
Someone said, “I consider ourselves lucky to have the Earthquake” In the certificate distribution ceremony, Rajendra Dhakal was very excited to share his feelings about the training. For one thing, he started by sharing how had been enrolled in the training. He was on a visit in a neighboring village while he met a friend and talked about the rehabilitation going on in Shrinathkot, the friend asked which organization was working with them for this process and he told Asal Chhimekee Nepal. The friend was very happy know and told him that Asal Chhimekee was a good organization and that he was very certain that positive changes would surely be brought about. So, Rajendra decided to recommend his own name for the training and thus he was here.
Rajendra said,” I have learnt a lot from this training. I learnt with excitement about various topics in English, but if there is anything I have learnt the most, it is that I know nothing about English. And I am certain there will be more for us in the future. Not only in school related aspects, but I feel, we have been touched by Asal Chhimekee Nepal in everything. Now, everything is being rebuilt. Everything we are trying to build now, if completed, will be better than what we ever had. Sometimes, I think to myself, it was a good thing for us that the Earthquake came and destroyed everything, because that made room for us to start building from scratch. We are very lucky have the partnership and expertise of Asal Chhimekee Nepal.”
The crowd seemed to welcome his thoughts and it seemed as if he had spoken the words from their own hearts. But ACN itself felt it had a lot to do; with so much appreciation from the community and the knowledge that it had a lot more to do, partnering, learning and teaching with this community. Everybody was happy but everybody knew there was a lot more to do. But that’s what milestones are for… congratulate you on how successful you have been in reaching the goal while also reminding how much further you still need to go, energizing with the success you have achieved.
Picture Gallery of the Event
A trainer at the the risk reduction training
A Trainee receiving Certificated from ACN
A Trainee receiving Certificated from ACN
A Trainee receiving Certificated from ACN
A Trainee at English Teachers’ Training shares her Experiences about the Training
Final ceremony for certifications
A Trainee presents his Group Task in front of the Class
An English Teacher from Gorkha
Group Work for English Teachers’ Training
A Trainee at the Risk Reduction Training
Trainee at group work at the Risk Reduction Training
End of July saw a massive flood – around 30 km towards Baglung from Pokhara due to heavy rain. More than 20 houses swept away and 30 people are left dead. Around 19 dead bodies are evacuated.
A team from PCC/ACN of 11 this at 7:30 immediately we heard that on the news left Pokhara and headed off to the landslide area as fast as possible overcoming many hurdles due to landslides on the rood. We were able to help security force and local people to evacuate dead bodies.
Asal Chhimekee Nepal (an endeavor of Pokhara Christian Community) has been working for the relief and rehabilitation of the people hit by earthquake on April, 2015. We have made a video about the relief and rehabilitation that we have decided to embark upon for a longer period of time.
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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.
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.
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:
We have compiled a short video to help understand what the situation is like …
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Pokhara: 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.
Children’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.
Water 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.
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.
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.
Monday, 15 December,
Bhedifarm Self- Help Group, associated with ACN, starts its Christmas celebration with an exemplary service to the community. This time, its time for some cleaning in the community.
The self-help group did a full-phase cleaning campaign in its community, raising awareness about the need and importance of clean and healthy community. The group invited ACN staff to join hands in its new campaign approaching Christmas. Trash-bins are now placed by the group at regular and fairly close distances to help develop a sustainable cleanliness in the surrounding. The staff of Health and Sanitation Department along with Empowerment Department also participated in the campaign.
The purpose of the campaign has been to raise awareness while spreading the message of Christmas- the celebration of birth of Christ who cleanses hearts.
The message will hopefully create a positive vibe in the community and slowly take them one-step closer towards an empowered and healthy community.