Kumar Majhi’s post-earthquake family home, Sukkhajor. He hopes to rebuild a more permanent structure, and is the lead contact with a group from Kathmandu [our group] that is helping the villagers of their tiny, dozen-home hamlet in Ramechhap set up a savings and livelihood recovery scheme.
Kumar Majhi (far right) and his neighbour discuss record keeping for the new pig and goat farming livelihoods program with Yagya Ghale.
Women group together indoors to talk about a savings and credit scheme.
A man from a neighboring village has joined the meeting and explains his thoughts on how the village might get an electricity connection. Options are either a generator-driven pump at current black market fuel rates, or a complicated arrangement of stringing wires from other villages. None of the solutions lie in waiting for the government to bring the line that has been promised.
The men discuss ways to improve the new farming ventures; key will be getting better access to water. The fields and village are very dry with a tiny supply for household needs – cruel irony for a traditional fishing community on the banks of the Sunkoshi river.
Literacy is one of the main obstacles to setting up formal savings and credit groups or livelihood schemes which can apply for loans. Most people in Sukkhajor have not studied and many cannot sign their names.
Students from the village have to walk over an hour uphill to get to the local school. At 16, this 8th grader is several years behind. Last year four students from the school sat the national School Leaving Certificate, “and our top student failed in six subjects.”