Anyone who has watched children grow up, or who celebrate a wedding anniversary, know that 10 years can fly by! But for a community of women in Itahari, in southeastern Nepal, so much has changed that the last 10 years feels like a lifetime ago!
The Hand in Hand journey started at a community meeting in this village with a lady called Punee Maya and then CEO of Habitat for Humanity Australia Jo Brennan. Her story was one of courage and determination and it was her story, that inspired us to take action to improve the lives of vulnerable women and children in Itahari.
In 2011, 100 amazing Australian volunteers lent their hands and their hearts to build homes for 10 female-single-headed households, alongside those who would be moving in.
In a letter of congratulations to Habitat and the 100 women build team in 2011 our then Prime Minister Julia Gillard said to the volunteers, “Adequate housing provides more than just a place to sleep: it gives people a secure foundation on which to build a better future. By helping local women build their own homes you are opening up a new world of opportunity for them, their families and their communities.”
Fast forward 10 years and we are so happy to know that several families have built new and more durable houses, which points to their ability to improve their income since being a Habitat home recipient.
Home partner Krishna said, “The Habitat house built 10 years ago opened us up to live our lives in a new way. We built our new house last year, but we always remember that Bamboo house which was built by our angels from Australia.”
They have built a shed on the right side of the house for raising a cow. They sell milk and some vegetables from the farm as their livelihood.
In the image above Krishna and her son Ahlok in front of their house
In the image below is Manikala proudly shows us a photo of the team who helped her change her life.
Learning from the build
As much as our colleagues from Habitat Nepal enjoyed reuniting with the families, they also learned a lot.
Some families mentioned that the mud plaster used back in 2011 would crumble, meaning walls would need to be re-plastered each year. Habitat Nepal has since improved the mud plasters ability to bond on the wove bamboo walls with chicken wire. All new homes are also now built on a plinth so they’re above the monsoon flood levels.
In the image above and below is Tara (then 36) standing in front of her forever home being built. And now, says she is happy and ok.
By helping more families build or improve the places they call home, we also can build healthier, equitable and resilient communities for generations to come. This is true for Janaki’s children who were of primary school age back in 2011, but are now young adults. Thanks to their home they have a secure, dry, well-lit place to continue their studies.
“We are so happy and grateful for the volunteers who joined their hands to build our house.”- Janaki
We hope you are also so proud of the new world of opportunities you create for families and communities around the world through your support!
You are helping us work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 to achieving equality and empower all women and girls. To help us continue to support vulnerable families in need please give a gift today here.