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Rebuilding Barbandi, Kavre

On the day of the earthquake, the village of Barbandi suffered a complete loss of all homes in the village. According to the villagers, if they had not been gathered outside for a meeting, there would have been few survivors. 

For the people of Barbandi, an economically disadvantaged community with an average yearly income of just $1,200, the cost of an earthquake-resistant house is out of reach.

The district of Kavre is also plagued by water shortages, and this village is no exception. The water issues not only force them to spend precious time fetching water, but also reduce their ability to cultivate crops for additional income.

Before the earthquake, the residents were trapped in a cycle of subsistence which offered little chance for growth. The added effects of a natural disaster have left them to contend with an untenable situation in their daily lives.

Our US board member, Mark Dorfman, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Barbandi in the 80's, and due to his continuing connection to the village, we selected it as the second village for Sangsangai to rebuild.


 

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The Residents of Barbandi

  • 100 Residents 
  • Members of Tamang, Pahari, Newar and Brahmin groups
  • Average income is $100 a month
  • The villagers have occupations such as road construction, hired agricultural workers

Januka Kharel

“Whatever circumstances arise, you shouldn't lose faith in yourself”

Januka is a rare entrepreneurial example in this part of rural Nepal. Starting as vegetable street vendor in the busy roads of kathmandu, she become the shopkeeper in Barbandi.

At the time of the earthquake, she was divorced, raising her son and daughter. After losing her shelter and income, she worked at a school in Kathmandu doing unskilled labor. Motivated to work for herself, she managed to gather $400 to start her own store in Barbandi and become self-sufficient. However, despite her business, she is unable to build and still sleeps in a tin shed, making the best of her inadequate living quarters.

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Bhakta Kumari Pahari

Bhakta Kumari Pahari, approximate age of 60
“I have had disappointments but I never lose the power of hope”

Hope has sustained Bhakta Kumari Pahari through the hardships of life and the earthquake. Due to frequent illnesses and memory loss, she can’t remember many of her struggles. Widow of an alcoholic, abusive husband,  she raised her two sons and three daughters by working hard day and night as an agricultural laborer. 

As she states in her quote, she still maintains hope, mainly due to the news that donors and the team of Sangsangai have commited to helping villagers like her recover from the devastation of the earthquake. 

Housing in Barbandi

The design selection is currently underway for the homes in Barbandi. The Sangsangai engineering team is collaborating with the villagers to find a solution that meets their needs for earthquake-resistant housing at a reasonable cost.

The homes will feature a guest room, intended to be rented to out to the many visitors to the Kavrepalanchok Bhagvati temple located 15 minutes away.

Each family owns the land that their previous homes stood on. The homes will likely be built as a public/ private partnership with contributions from Sangsangai donors, the Government of Nepal, and the villagers in the form of equity or labor.

Chinimaya Tamang, 45 with her two kids.

Chinimaya Tamang, 45 with her two kids.

Kanchi Tamang, 60, amid the ruins of her house.

Kanchi Tamang, 60, amid the ruins of her house.

Manumaya Pahari, 62, all smiles in front of her former home.

Manumaya Pahari, 62, all smiles in front of her former home.

Ramsharan Napit, 45, hearing impaired, amid the rubble of his house.

Ramsharan Napit, 45, hearing impaired, amid the rubble of his house.

Nirjuala Napit, 23, with her daughter.

Nirjuala Napit, 23, with her daughter.

Man Bahadur Pahari, 58, a quiet soul who loves  animals and classic Nepali songs.

Man Bahadur Pahari, 58, a quiet soul who loves  animals and classic Nepali songs.

 
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Community Centers in Nepal serve as:

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In Barbandi, the Community Center has been generously sponsored by Vijaya Shrestha and family in honor of the late Mohan Narayan Shrestha.

Construction began in early 2018, and the center will provide the additional benefit of shelter while house construction is under way.

Economic Development in Barbandi

In order to create a sustainable future for Barbandi residents, we have signed a contract with Nepal's first certified Fair Trade manufacturer, Everest Fashions. 50 residents of the village and surrounding areas will have full time employment, bringing the income of the villagers to a level where they are able to make investments in their future.

As demonstrated below, many villagers are day laborers, which means they cannot rely on a steady income each month, and often have to borrow money to keep themselves afloat until a busier month.

With this constant pattern of indebtedness, they are unable to invest in their health or education, even the best times. The loss of their homes after the earthquake has set them back in a way that leaves them unable to recover without outside help.

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Barbandi Resident Dhan Bahadur Lama

 

 

Typical Monthly Income...............$100

Monthly Expenses

Rice..............................................$28
Vegetables....................................$56
Transportation..............................$10
Rituals..........................................$25
Miscellaneous..............................$28

Total Expenses............................$147

Income deficit during an average month of day labor..................................-$47                                       

Our economic development partner, Everest Fashions, was founded in 1994 for the purpose of creating employment opportunities specifically for women. Since then, they have become Nepal's first Fair Trade certified company, and are frequently listed as the top exporter of handicrafts in Nepal.

After a workshop is constructed in Barbandi, the villagers will be trained in the felt finishing process. 50 residents of Barbandi and the surrounding area will be provided with full-time employment year-round, freeing them from the uncertainties of making an income from an irregular schedule of day labor.
 

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Images of felt product production, courtesy of Everest Fashion.