MOVING FORWARD IN DADAGAUN

Written on October 31, 2017 by Chrissy & Kurt

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A spur of the moment decision on the way home to Australia from Europe found Kurt and I in Dadagaun for the beginning of the Dashain Festival. What a treat! We have long been concerned that the funds raised in Australia and Colorado for earthquake rebuilding, have been in the bank for too long and should really be in the hands of the villagers.

Other donations from the UK and USA are being managed by the local Dadagaun Village Rebuilding Committee. These funds have been used to purchase the Compressed Earth Brick making machine and provide a training program for several villagers (8 women and 3 men) through Build Up Nepal. This pool has also been distributed in amounts of Rs 50,000 to approximately 27 households of the 60 or so in need. These are families who can afford to get started and have provided their receipts for building materials. There is money in the bank for another round of approximately 24 disbursements.

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Our trip started with two days’ reconnaissance trudging up and down the rocky, muddy paths of the village, greatly assisted by Saru’s guidance and the Google Earth map with house numbers supplied by Tom soon after the EQ. We collected data on progress with rebuilding, household size and employment status, and capacity to get started on the rebuild. Bank loans naturally are only available to those in secure employment.

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Overall it was very encouraging to see some progress in the village with a handful of houses completed, several underway, stockpiles of materials in readiness and plans afoot for others. After all, it has been two and a half years since the EQ. Finally, delays (mainly concerning government building approvals and distribution of grants) are easing. There is even a break through with the frustrations of load shedding of electricity supply with power now available at the flick of a switch 24 hours a day. It is unbelievable the difference this has made to lifestyle! Some families even have a fridge. With the new homes there is a trend for gas stoves on kitchen benches (replacing the previous smoky firepits on the ground), large windows, plumbing and sometimes indoor bathrooms.

However, sadly, the majority of IMG_8797.edit
families continue to live in damaged mudbrick homes or the temporary tin sheds that popped up immediately after the EQ – can you imagine the noise in monsoon or the freezing cold in winter?

The popularity of using Compressed Earth Bricks is slowly gaining momentum after Build Up Nepal’s supervision of the rebuilding of Principal Dhorje’s house. It is a solid, square structure standing proud in the lower village. He maintains he has saved 40% of costs for his building materials. Two other families have completed their homes in CEBs and at least 5 more have the intention of using them in the future. To make the bricks the villagers work co-operatively on one house lot then another, stockpiling the bricks and curing them on the building site.
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Some families don’t have enough level land for this and have chosen instead to use terracotta bricks plastered with concrete. Others are simply not keen on the CEBs and want to stick to methods they see used in Kathmandu.

After pawing over our data we compiled three groups of recipients, those most in need (widows, low income families) singled out to receive a greater share of the money we had brought. We were able to distribute funds to 17 families – some in quite significant amounts.IMG_8965 It was a joy to see the happiness and relief on their lovely faces and we left Dadagaun feeling very satisfied – after receiving traditional Dashain tika, and enjoying many cups of tea and dinners at home with village families. Once again thanks goes out to you, the donors for your generosity and support.

The photos here show a range of images of living and rebuilding in Dadagaun and our distribution of funds – they’re all fairly self-explanatory. There are more on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dadagaun.village.project/

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