KATHMANDU, Nepal, April 22 – Five years ago, on April 25, Nepal was hit by one of the most devastating earthquakes in its history. Nearly 9,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were left homeless. Immediately after the disaster, People in Need began to help Nepal rebuild, and those efforts continue.
During the last half-decade of work, PIN, in partnership with international donors and local organizations, has focused on improving community resilience in the worst-affected parts of the country. For instance, PIN teams have helped rebuild 125 kilometers of trail roads, provided work to nearly 4,000 people, and educated some 3,000 children. PIN has also helped relocate more than 2,400 families from at-risk areas and is contributing to the construction of new homes and the renovation of damaged ones.
Our work began three days after the earthquake, an incredibly rapid deployment given the severity of the damage. But it was essential to respond quickly, as the disaster affected a vast number of people, many living in remote mountain villages. The first wave of aid focused on the Gorkha region, near the quake’s epicenter, but soon PIN began working in Sindhupalchowk, another region that suffered heavy damage.
“One of our first tasks was to form a response team, and we created an office in a hotel garden where we erected tents and worked off plastic garden furniture,” said Denisa Bultasová, who was coordinator for PIN’s Nepal program. “There we welcomed many volunteers who were eager to help. Some of our team members were transported by helicopter to cut-off areas in the mountains. Other colleagues would spend many days helping local authorities set up a database of earthquake-affected villages and houses.”
PIN’s initial task centered on distributing tarpaulins, so people could construct temporary shelters. This early intervention was made possible by the generosity of donors to the People in Need Club of Friends. PIN also launched an SOS Nepal fundraising campaign, and donors from the Czech Republic contributed more than 30 million Czech crowns to the effort.
“With these funds we supported 14,320 households and provided them with essential materials and technical support so they could build temporary homes,” says Irene Itria, PIN’s Desk Officer for Nepal. “Together with local people we began to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure in the most heavily affected regions in the Himalayas.”
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake left a sea of destruction; approximately 600,000 buildings were destroyed and another 280,000 buildings were damaged. Many families had to leave their villages and move to camps for internally displaced people, which often lacked even the most basic facilities.
To help people rebuild their lives, we first sought to understand the scope of the problems and needs that had arisen. For instance, sexual harassment and abuse, human trafficking, and exploitation were all major issues that emerged in the days and weeks after the disaster. In response, PIN, working with a local partner, launched a program called “Her Safety,” which involved a series of workshops and seminars designed to teach adolescent girls how to protect themselves. Participants also learned about basic hygiene, and how to speak openly about issues such as domestic violence and child marriages. Our goal was to raise awareness and to enhance women’s safety.
Concurrently, PIN’s “Leave No Girl Behind” project helped more than 1,700 adolescent girls reach their full potential. In Nepal, local tradition forces many young girls to leave school early and get married as early as 12. Participants in our Leave No Girl Behind initiative were given an opportunity to learn life skills such as literacy and math. Upon completion of the course, and with the full support of their families and communities, beneficiaries then returned to school or took up local apprenticeships. In total, some 8,500 girls are being supported by the project.
In addition to these programs, PIN organized workshops to train nearly 3,200 boys and girls in issues such as health, safety, gender equality, and anti-discrimination tactics.
Finally, since 2018, PIN has helped communities relocate from landslide-prone areas and prepare for future disasters. As part of these efforts, we teach people how to build more earthquake-resistant homes.
“Thanks to our great team in Nepal, and through our collaborations with local organizations and the government, we know the needs and challenges of people living in the poorest parts of the country,” says Jakub Smutny, PIN Country Director in Nepal and he adds:_ “Whether it is supporting livelihood projects or preparing communities for future disasters, our interventions are based on the best available data and science.”_
By the numbers: 5 years of People in Need in Nepal
14,320 households provided with materials and technical support for the construction of temporary shelters.
Distribution of mattresses, blankets, quilts, solar lamps and other essential items to 10,623 households.
3,183 children participated in PIN health and safety workshops.
889 people participated in workshops designed to raise awareness of safety and protection for women.
**125.5 kilometers **of trail roads rehabilitated with PIN support.
New work opportunities for 3,914 households.
200 adolescent mothers supported by PIN’s mHealth program, which focuses on preventive care and mental health.
Knitting and livelihood training for 400 women and 300 households.
Construction and restoration of earthquake-resistant homes for 1,600 households.
Reading, writing, and math classes for 1,709 girls.
2,428 households relocated from landslide-prone areas.
Since 2015, funding for PIN’s activities in Nepal has been provided by Czech donors to the PIN Club of Friends and the SOS Nepal fundraiser. Additional sponsors include: the UK Department of International Development (DFID), the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the International Organization for Migration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, and Czech Radio.
Jakub Smutný, PIN Country Director in Nepal
+420 724 587 888
Irene Itria, coordinator of PIN programs in Nepal (English and Czech)
+420 778 442 587