Sarita recalls having mixed feelings when her village in the Tarai region, eastern Nepal was hit by massive flooding in August. While she was upset at seeing the devastation all around, she was relieved that her Habitat house and all her belongings were safe.
As soon as flood waters subsided three days later, Sarita headed for Habitat for Humanity Nepal’s office in the east to thank the staff. Her new house was completed with the support of Habitat Nepal just a few months before the flooding struck. “I used to live in a shack that offered no privacy, security or protection from bad weather,” Sarita says. The 40-year-old daily wage laborer adds: “Some of my neighbors who denied shelter to me and my children during heavy rainfall in the past took refuge in my house during the flooding.”
Sarita is the sole breadwinner supporting her 12-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son since her husband’s death. According to Sarita, her husband, aged 65, after his health condition deteriorated and the impoverished family could not afford treatment.
She admits that she struggled to explain to her children why they could not afford to build a decent house with her meager earning. She had to send her daughter to live with a relative as she felt uneasy about leaving her on her own in the flimsy hut that offered no privacy.
Now that the house has been completed and withstood the flooding, she is planning to bring her daughter back. Her son, who studies in grade one, has stopped complaining about the condition of their house.