There is a lot that needs to be restored, and emergency aid for the women from the larger organizations has been necessary. But first and foremost it has been important to assess the situation. Training sessions have started again and more women begin to restore their businesses. WAWCAS keeps a steady eye on strengthening the path of women of Nepal for the long term.
Nepal and WAWCAS have been considerably shaken after the two violent earthquakes that took place on the 26th of April and later again, on the 12th of May. The people of Nepal living in the aftermath now experience earth shakes several times a day and live in constant fear of going through another violent earthquake.
It is therefore wonderful to be able to share the news that all WAWCAS women have survived and so did our employees. A few though, have unfortunately lost family members and our thoughts go to them and their loved ones.
Status on Women, their Businesses, and Training
Many of the WAWCAS women have lost their homes and their small businesses. Most of the businesses have been closed until now, as women have been unable to procure goods. WAWCAS pig and goat stables have proven to be well built. Most of them are well preserved and are being often used as houses for families.
Training sessions have started again, several women have opened their businesses and many have begun restoring businesses with what they can afford at the moment.
Over the next several months, we are going to supervise the reestablishment of businesses, and get an idea on the type of help that will be eventually needed to ensure that those women, who have initially run successful businesses, are ready to continue on this path again.
Funding and Support Now and in the Future
Fundamentally, we maintain that WAWCAS is not a humanitarian aid agency. WAWCAS is a program that guides women to run their own business and send their children to school. However, it has been extremely important for us to try to direct the necessary assistance from the major aid organizations to the areas we are familiar with at WAWCAS.
The entire team from Kathmandu travelled in May to Lamjung together with the local team, to visit from village to village. It was a tough experience, but it gave WAWCAS a great overview of the situation. And just on the basis of this work, we received, amongst others, 250 tents from the local Red Cross, while visiting some of the houses. WAWCAS has also collected funds for solar lamps, which have been given over.
Our commitment has since been to go every week to women’s groups and gather them together as much as possible.
Nepal Right Now
People of Nepal live in extremely harsh times, with a constant fear of a future earthquake and future destructions. The monsoon has started: a greatly difficult time with a lot of rain and roads that are being washed away, making the situation even more difficult.
We can see that our women are strong and continue to focus on moving forward. Therefore, 50 members have gathered with our entire team last week to work together to share experiences from the earthquakes, and to work together to prioritize the steps that are to be taken from here.
I have met them on skype, which is a whole new and important experience for all of us. Now they can understand what it means when I tell them that Sangeeta and I meet many times a week.
The situation is not following an ordinary course in Nepal, but we feel that all of the women are doing everything they can to get back on their feet so they can again live their lives with their businesses, and the livelihood that it provides for them and their families. WAWCAS’ attention is, as it always has been, to help them succeed.
A great summer to all of you!
Nina Schriver, International Program Director