The massive earthquakes that struck Nepal on 25 April and the major aftershock occurred on 12 May were unprecedented natural disasters Nepal has ever experienced. It claimed more than 8700 lives and decimated millions of houses and infrastructure. During this crisis, PDRC also extended helping hand to the people who were in need of urgent humanitarian assistance and reconstruction.
Immediately after the first struck, we emanated some funds through personal collection/donation and distributed relief materials to the 30 Dalit households in Bishunkenagar VDC in Godavari, Lalitpur. The relief material consists of the set of one sack of rice, lentils, vegetables, oils in the same proportion along with a tent. PDRC executive director Birendra Biswakarma and program manager Rup Sunar were deputed for this task. Two of our colleagues Karl Brown and Antoine Mercier from Canada contributed some cash and tents to this end. Similarly, PDRC president Kamala Hemchuri was active in distributing relief materials in the worst affected areas in Kathmandu, Dhading, Sindhupalchok, Gorkha and Nuwakot, etc.
Following the massive destruction of schools in the most affected areas, construction of temporary learning centers was also equally essential. Therefore, having signed MoU with the District Education Office in Sindhupalchok, PDRC constructed a learning center with three rooms in Batase-4, Devidanda, Sindhupalchok. This is our endeavor to assure fearless learning environment for the students. The high population of Dalit rendered us to choose the location. Prior to the construction, PDRC personals made an official visit for assessment. PDRC provided a 13 bundle of metal sheets along with other construction materials worth Rs. 150,000. On top of that, the PDRC team also provided 5 days of volunteer labor to build the learning center. Ramesh Nepali provided technical support, the overarching whole structure, and design. He is the student of engineering and one of the scholarship recipients from the organization. This money was used out of the budget allocated for PDRC’s 10th-anniversary celebration and other programs.
Besides this, PDRC also supplied numbers of student volunteers to the Kathmandu Living Lab, who help to match the earthquake-hit people’s needs with ongoing relief efforts being conducted by various government, non-government and volunteer groups. Reports on this site helped others in coordinating and dispatching such relief efforts.
Finally, the recently held international conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction was highly successful as donors wholeheartedly pledged the support for reconstruction. PDRC came to know that 70% of the international participants might know nothing about Dalit and caste system. Taking this into consideration, PDRC in consultation with Dalit intellectual Mr. Hira Bishwakarma prepared a short note on who are Dalit, how have been they affected by this disaster and how their needs should be addressed in the rehabilitation of the displaced people and post-reconstruction. That note was sent to the major donors and their authorized representatives through twitter. This effort seems to have worked well. Some donor agencies reminded the government that the special needs of the disadvantaged groups should be taken into account in the post-disaster reconstruction phase.
PDRC executive director Birendra Biswakarma opined, “We are in the process of expanding our scope of work beyond Kathmandu valley. This work has given the team an unbridled pleasure and we are happy to expend our effort and time for this unbidden support.”
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