With the generous support of Fungma Fudong, Priyata Thapa & friends, and Trek Nepal (Nischal Neupane), we were able to provide some warm clothes to displaced children from Haku VDC, Rasuwa who are now living in four IDP camps (Satbise, Naubise, Bogatitar and Sankhule). Prior to carrying out this initiative, Purna Rai visited the camps and gathered detailed information and data in coordination with the camp coordinators. Based on this data, the children were divided into different age groups. Our group members and volunteers from Nari Shakti Women Cooperative spent weeks meeting potential vendors and local tailors, comparing prices and products, and coordinating with camp residents to decide what types of clothes should be provided to the children. Some clothes were made at a local tailoring shop and others purchased from local shops in Kathmandu over the next two weeks. Our volunteers collected them, transported them to the cooperative office and spent days sorting and packing them for distribution.
The following types of clothes were distributed:
- Baby clothes for infants (age: 7 days to 6 months)
- A set of fleece jacket and trousers (age: 6 months–3 years)
- Fleece set and school uniform sweater (age: 4–18 years)
A total of 425 sets of fleece trousers and jackets, 342 sweaters, and 28 sets of baby clothes were distributed in the four camps. The total cost for this activity was NPR 329,265. The cost also included a subsistence allowance for Purna Rai, transportation cost, and meal for local volunteers.
The total funds received for this initiative was NPR 360,820. Trek for Nepal (Nischal Neupane) contributed NPR 230,000; Priyata Thapa and friends contributed NPR 80,000 and Fungma Fudong contributed NPR 35,000. In addition, NPR 15,820 was donated by Fred Roberts Jr. (through Priyata Thapa and friends) for providing small snacks to children during distribution.
The residents of the four camps thanked the donors and organizers for providing warm clothes at a time they needed them most. Children in Sankhule IDP camp in particular were in dire need of warm clothes as the camp is situated on a hill slope that does not get any sun.
We made the following notes based on our interaction with the camp residents after distribution:
- In Naubise, warm clothes were insufficient as there are huge numbers of IDPs from different quake affected locations of Rasuwa. Only 176 IDP children, including babies, from Ward 8 and 9 of Haku VDC received the clothes.
- In Bogatitar IDP camp, senior citizens requested support for medical service, food, clothes and shelter. They suggested that the elderly do not receive enough attention compared to children and single women.
- Buti Tamang (Tiru, Haku 8), assistant coordinator of Bogatitar IDP camp, expressed her concern regarding the uncertainty about their temporary shelter. The land lease is ending in a few months. They are paying a very high rent – NPR 6000 per family/year, which amounts to a total of NPR 538,000 for 88 families. This means they are paying almost NPR 8000 per 500 square metre, a very high rate by any standard, let alone for displaced families who have lost their homes and livelihoods. The camp residents have to pour whatever little they have into paying the rent (which they still can’t afford), and this has prevented them from engaging in livelihood activities that might have improved their situation, such as vegetable production, poultry production and other vocational activities. The IDPs are thus trapped in a vicious cycle. A few NGOs have leased land and established field training centres for the IDPs (for vegetable production, apiculture, poultry production and vocational training) but the IDPs themselves are unable to initiate activities they want. The NGOs pay a high rent for the land, and this has affected existing land renting practices to the IDPs’ disadvantage. Bam Bahadur Tamang from Sankhule camp reported that they were initially hopeful and enthusiastic about leasing land and starting livelihood activities, but the high rent of land has gradually killed their hope and desire.
- Nira Tamang, 24, from Haku 8 lives in Bogatitar IDP camp with her husband and three-year-old daughter. She and her husband do not have a regular source of income. Therefore she participated in a weeklong poultry rearing training provided by an NGO and is hoping to start a small poultry business. She really wants to lease a small plot of land and build a shed for raising a few hundred chickens. But she needs at least NPR 50,000 to cover startup costs. She is willing to pay interest and looking to get a loan from any financial institution, but none of the financial agencies are supporting her. Left with no option, she has at last taken a loan from a local woman and agreed to pay a 36% annual interest.
- All IDPs are worried about their permanent shelter as they cannot return to their home village and the government has not yet identified an area for their resettlement. For most IDPs, land for resettlement is the greatest priority at the moment, and they are hoping that donors or I/NGOs will support them by arranging land where they can build long-term shelters. In addition, people in some camps are facing a shortage of food supplies and have requested further support.