THe Mohan narayan shrestha community center in 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, we have provided a large community center that will serve not only Barbandi, but the whole region. It is the only such community center for many miles around.
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 a work site for Sangsangai.
The Residents of Barbandi
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
“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.
Bhakta Kumari Pahari
“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
Because of recent political stability and changes in Nepal. the villagers have received the government stipend to rebuild modest homes.
Community Centers in Nepal serve as:
In Barbandi, the Community Center has been generously sponsored by Vijaya Shrestha and family in honor of the late Mohan Narayan Shrestha.
Vijaya shared this memory of her late husband:
”Though born and raised in Kathmandu, Mohan's work took often took him outside the valley. In 1987, we spent time in Rampur where he was a Fulbright Scholar working on migration, and much earlier, in 1970, upon returning to Kathmandu after receiving his PhD in the US, he traveled for several weeks to remote areas of Nepal - sometimes on foot, and sometimes on horseback.
He did this at the request of King Mahendra and the Nepalese government who wanted him to assess development opportunities outside the valley in his capacity as an economic geographer.
There were no hotels or hostels on his path, so he relied on the generosity of strangers...villagers who didn't have that much to begin with...to take him in, give him a place to sleep and perhaps a meal. So having his name on a community center outside the Kathmandu Valley seems appropriate...a giving back in a way...for the generosity of people in places just like Kavre.”