Shanti has come a long way since her husband’s sudden death left her to raise four children on her own. The 39-year-old farmer owns a small plot of land on which she grows maize, barley and vegetables that provide some food for her family. Shanti earns additional income by working as a farm hand on her neighbor’s farm.
Despite working hard, she could not afford to expand or repair her cramped shelter in Ghale village in the mountainous region of Salme, Nuwakot district. When a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, her old house that was made of mud and stone collapsed.
The months after the disaster were tough for Shanti and her children. Strong winds usually accompanied drops in temperature during winter. Her children would often catch a cold when the weather turned chilly. To keep them warm, she had to light fires using the branches and twigs that she gathered from a nearby forest.
Shanti was resigned to such living conditions until she signed up for the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness training. The members of her PASSA group identified her family as a vulnerable household who needed help in rebuilding her home. After few months, Shanti was given an opportunity to train in a month long unskilled masonry training. After 390 hours of on-the-job training, Shanti is now a certified unskilled mason. “I am now more confident and empowered to make informed choices about house construction,” she said. She went on to build a brick-and-cement house with Habitat Nepal’s support, and worked on two other houses in her community. “I am thankful that my children and I now have a stable home,” Shanti said.