Building homes in Bakhang

Location Bakhang village, north Nepal
Type Community

Location and background
Bakhang is a remote village in Nepal near the border with Tibet. It is an eight-hour drive and a five-hour walk from Kathmandu. The village is home to 60 families of ethnic Tibetans including 85 school-aged children.

Two massive earthquakes in 2015 destroyed much of the village. By late 2017, only two families had been able to rebuild their houses. The rest of the villagers have been living in temporary tarpaulin and tin shelters. Amongst them are the elderly, disabled and single parents.

We have committed to help eight of the most vulnerable families by building them new earthquake-resistant homes. The homes will be built using the same earth brick technology used to rebuild the village school.

Some of these homes will make use of stone salvaged from the rubble and others will be constructed entirely of earth bricks. Both methods will create strong and safe earthquake resistant houses.

The community in Bakhang is very supportive of this project and of each other. They held a community meeting to decide who are the most disadvantaged people in the village how much support they need.

Work is already underway setting the foundations of the first homes. Ms Chungi Sherpa and Mr Maila Norasang Sherpa are two of the villagers who will be getting new homes very soon.

Chungi Sherpa’s husband died many years ago and she has no children. At 65 years old Chungi Sherpa relies on some small farming and animals to earn money. She finds the physical labour very difficult and earns only what she needs to get from day-to-day. She is not physically or financially capable of re-building her home for herself. The villagers elected that Chungi Sherpa will not be expected to contribute to the cost of her re-build and the other villagers will carry out the physical work for her.

Maila Norasang Sherpa is living with his brother in a temporary shelter. Maila used to be a driver but he suffers from mental health issues and was unable to continue working. Living with his brother means he has a temporary roof over his head but he has no stable income and no children to help support him. Living in his own house will give Maila peace of mind and relieve some of the physical and emotional stress he currently has.

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