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Nepal – Generous Kiwi Christians provide roofing for a devastated rural village

Gratitude echoes from Nepal as donors' kindness helps rebuild lives after earthquakes. Tin roofing sheets provide shelter, easing the threat of disease. Amidst challenges, ATEN and Nepal Ebenezer Bible College focus on rebuilding homes and hearts. Immediate relief brings survival, while resilient hope shines in the face of rebuilding.
Dr Ramesh standing in front of a destroyed home in Kathmandu

“The village thanks all of you donors for your kindness for providing the funds for the tin roofing sheets they received today.”

These are the words of Dr Ramesh Katry, Principal of The Association for Theological Education in Nepal, reporting from rural Koshidekha Village after generous donations were made to the earthquake relief efforts.

When the earthquake hit Nepal, we put out a call to our Kiwi network of support. This is an excerpt from that appeal for help:

It is just over a fortnight since the tragic earthquakes in Nepal. Our partners on the ground report that the loss and grief are still overwhelming. They continue to provide relief aid – food, clothing, water, shelter – to the suffering families around them. Most of the deceased in their immediate surrounds have been accounted for.

But with the makeshift and crowded living conditions, the threat of the spread of disease is imminent, especially with the ongoing rainfall the area has experienced. Our partners report that they must now focus on rebuilding homes so that families have somewhere to live, other than under tarpaulins.

Over the weekend Dr Ramesh Khatry (Principal of The Association for Theological Education in Nepal – ATEN, our Langham ministry partner) drove his motorbike through the rubble and broken roads, to a rural village in the Kavre district to join a Christian friend as he and his community rebuild their homes. Every single home in this village is destroyed! Ramesh reports the need is great, and asks us to urgently send money for roofing tin, the request of most families as they try to piece their lives back together.

Back in Kathmandu, the ATEN faculty had an allegedly “earthquake-proof” building, but an entire wall collapsed. Prior to the earthquake the college’s priority had been to build their students a library, but now the focus must be to build this wall to ensure student safety. Ramesh and his wife’s own house collapsed. They have had to move to a different building on the campus, and watch their home of 51 years be dismantled as there is nothing left to build with. Ramesh has essentially put his theological training on hold to focus on the rebuilding work so that people are no longer displaced.

Our Overseas Council ministry partner, Nepal Ebenezer Bible College writes how they too have closed the college, so that staff and students may provide relief through their churches and other Christian organisations. Many of their homes and villages have been flattened, so they are starting the rebuild alongside their own families and communities.

The faculty building has walls and stairs fallen in, making it unsafe. Principal Rev Kumar Budhathoki is waiting on an engineer to assess the damage – but as you can imagine, the engineers are overwhelmed with the need right now.

In the wake of disaster such as this, immediate relief is essential for survival, but so is the rebuilding.

For people to overcome their trauma, grieve their losses, survive without disease, and have a sense of future hope, they must get their homes back.

As Kiwis who experienced the Christchurch earthquake, we know first-hand, that rebuilding can be as hard, long, fraught and painful, as the initial trauma.
In early June, we received this update from Ramesh Katry, in response to your generosity:

Elder Harihar Uprety, the only Christian in his village, distributed tin (zinc sheets) to 51 families today. Because there is a great shortage of tin sheets, Harihar could not distribute 1 bundle of sheets but had to be content with half bundle. Also, he could not find painted tin.

In his Koshidekha village if a person took a 6 foot sheet for her/his family, s/he received 6 sheets. If the choice was for 12 foot sheet, s/he received three sheets. I heard women saying that three 12 foot sheets made a cow shed! In theory any person take a 12 foot sheet can cut it into two for 6 foot sheets.

Harihar will distribute another half bundle when more tin sheets become available. Since all of Nepal wants tin sheets, there is a shortage; and the government has given incentives for Nepali factories to work around the clock. Also, more tin sheets will be imported from India.

The village thanks all of you donors for your kindness in providing the funds for the sheets they received today. They will receive more perhaps in a week or later. I will update you again when Harihar uses all the money he has received on more tin sheets.

We are pleased to let you know that all the money has been used for tin roofing – people in Koshidekha in the least have a roof over their heads.

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