The Risks of Unstable Housing
For people living in rural villages in Nepal, devastating poverty is a daily battle. Amongst the myriad of challenges, lack of reliable housing is one of the most crucial obstacles to gaining economic security and obtaining health and educational opportunities for families. Due to poor living conditions, many people make the difficult decision to apply their meager incomes to improving their homes, which consequently diverts important financial resources from education, healthcare, and other important activities.
Moreover, the constant vulnerability to natural of disasters only strengthens the need these populations have for safe and reliable housing. Earthquakes are an especially ever-present threat to life and livelihood, often making homes unsafe and uninhabitable, if not completely destroying them. The COVID-19 pandemic also increased the need for people to have homes where they could isolate themselves and prevent the disease’s spread.
Rebuilding Homes, Rebuilding Hope
Recognizing the challenges that come with the lack of safe housing, CHOICE Humanitarian and Latter-day Saint Charities initiated the Home Rebuilds Project in 2020. Houses built by the Home Rebuilds Project were for individuals and families that were especially vulnerable to both natural and anthropogenic disasters, including the extremely underserved, single women, and the marginalized. These homes were built using modern technology to ensure that they were environmentally friendly, earthquake resistant, and economical to build.
CHOICE and its partners collaborated on the construction of 68 homes throughout Sundarbazaar Municipality in the Lamjung District. At the end of 2020, some homes had been completed, but even more were in the process of being constructed. Not only did these homes provide safe and reliable shelter, but the residents also gained the ability to save money to apply to education, health, and business ventures.
A New Foundation for Kale
Kale Gurung’s mud-house home was brought to the ground by the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal in 2015. Without supportive family or the financial resources needed to reconstruct his home, Kale realized he had nowhere to go. He tried lobbying governmental agencies to rebuild his home, but was continually frustrated when he was not selected as a beneficiary of government-funded housing.
Understanding Kale’s need for safe and reliable housing, CHOICE worked with Kale to construct a new home. Not only is Kale’s new home safe, but it now allows him to apply his income to other necessities or opportunities rather than applying it to rent.
Kale stated, “Despite several visits to the government offices...no one was willing to listen to my plights. Fortunately, CHOICE...came to the rescue of people like me. Now, my worries are gone in that my house is almost complete, and I will soon move there from the room I have rented at my neighbor’s house. I am very much thankful to CHOICE staff, who were highly supportive.”