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Fifty years, Fifty countries: Nepal

By Emily Owen | 09 Aug 2018

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia. With a lack of essential electricity and water, high levels of unemployment and widespread corruption, a quarter of the population live in extreme poverty – surviving on the equivalent of less than £1.45 a day.

To mark 50 years of Tearfund, we’re sharing about 50 countries where we’ve worked, celebrating God’s provision and power to transform, and praying for each of these nations. This week we’re in Nepal.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in Asia. With a lack of essential electricity and water, high levels of unemployment and widespread corruption, a quarter of the population live in extreme poverty – surviving on the equivalent of less than £1.45 a day.

Tearfund has been working in Nepal since 1970. Our partners work in vulnerable communities constructing homes, building water systems, teaching valuable and practical life skills and protecting marginalised people such as women and people from lower castes.

In 2015, two major earthquakes hit Nepal, killing nearly 8,000 people. The survivors were left vulnerable to natural disasters, at higher risk of diseases and facing the challenge of losing their homes and other essential infrastructure.

Building hope and homes
After the 2015 earthquake, Tearfund was among the first organisations to start building permanent, earthquake resilient homes. Success stories are flooding in from Nepal as Tearfund’s partners continue to build community infrastructure, rehabilitate water systems, and protect vulnerable adults and children.

In the remote hill village of Basanta, Thuli Maya Syangtan was one of the first people to benefit from a new home…

As an elderly widow, whose six children had died, Thuli relied on her sister for survival, ‘If you don’t have family or children, people are not kind, they show me no love, and it makes me cry. If my sister was not there, I would die hungry.

When the earthquake hit, Thuli was on her land tending to her crops. ‘When the earthquake struck I felt dizzy, everything was shaking and I put my hands on the ground to support myself. I came home after the shaking stopped and I saw that everything had collapsed.’

Thuli from the remote hill village of Basanta

Thuli, 78, outside the new, permanent home being built for her.

Building community and friendships
Villagers helped her to construct a temporary shelter while Tearfund’s partner Rural Awareness and Development Organisation (RADO) built a stronger permanent home for her. For Thuli, a home isn’t just a protective structure, or somewhere safe to keep your belongings, it is a place where you can build and grow relationships.

‘I was really happy when I found out that I would get a house. People started visiting me. I like people coming, I am always happy, never angry when I have visitors.’

Tearfund’s longer-term development plans in Nepal continue to focus on development as we work with churches and other community based organisations to build relationships as well as homes and infrastructure.

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Written by

Photo of Emily Owen

Written by Emily Owen

Emily is Tearfund’s Junior Copywriter. She loves reading and writing stories about people who change the world, so copywriting for Tearfund is a great fit.