After the earthquake: Women are rebuilding Nepal

In the hours following the worst earthquake in Nepal’s history, Global Fund for Women’s incredible community came together to support fearless women and girls in Nepal and India who immediately started leading relief efforts in their communities.

We have raised over $610,000 for the Nepal Crisis Fund (as of June 2, 2015), to support emergency efforts, as well as medium- and long-term recovery and rehabilitation. Thanks to your generous donations, Global Fund for Women’s partners – 12 trusted women-led groups in communities in Nepal – have received emergency funding to date. These groups are on the front-lines of recovery, working every day to rebuild communities and ensure that women’s unique needs are being met now and for years to come.

Women for Human Rights Nepal (WHR Nepal) – a long-time partner with a 19-year track record advancing women’s rights in Nepal – has distributed thousands of relief packages including food, tents, blankets, and kitchen appliances to women whose homes were destroyed. With a special focus on lactating mothers, elderly women, and injured and disabled women, WHR Nepal is providing dignity kits (which include important items for women and girls like sanitary napkins and clean undergarments), critical nutrition, and medical checkups in several remote districts. Last week, they hosted a self-defense training for women and girls living in safe houses, since the risk of sexual violence increases following disasters. Tewa, a Global Fund for Women grantee partner that has been investing in women’s rights groups in Nepal since 1996, has reached over 2,000 women, helping with mobile health camps, providing mattresses and distributing maternity kits.

The Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC) and the National Alliance of Women Human Rights Defenders created the Sneha Campaign – “sneha” means “love” – to support earthquake survivors in five districts, focusing on pregnant women, new mothers, and adolescent girls. WOREC has set up safe spaces for women and children to receive counseling services, food and essential supplies, shelter, and bedding. This also provides a space where women can safely breast feed and tend to the needs of their babies and children.

Throughout the relief efforts over the past month, the strength, resilience, and leadership of the women and girls in Nepal shine through. “There are many tragic or sad tales, but there are also stories of fortitude and strength, of compassion and kindness,” said a Tewa spokesperson. “The entire Nepali people, it feels like, are working as one and for each other.”

Still, our partners emphasize that the road to recovery is long; in just days, monsoon season is set to approach which will present new challenges for relief and recovery. Research and Global Fund experience shows that post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation holds the greatest potential and greatest risk for protecting and sustaining gender equality. Once the situation has stabilized, our partners’ work will focus long-term on ensuring women are at the table in rebuilding efforts and that, in the aftermath of the crisis, women’s rights are strengthened and not diminished. Stay tuned for more updates from women on the ground, and continue to support women and girls as they work to rebuild.

Tewa Nepal Photo May 27 2915May 27, photo from Tewa: “We visited Tyanglafat in Kirtipur and distributed maternity relief packages to 45 postnatal women.”