I have had the privilege to join the Purnima team on some visits to beneficiaries of the programme. During March we drove out into Gajuri in Dhading district and firstly visited a widow who was receiving help to rebuild her house. Flat land was so scarce that she’d started to build on an unstable sandy slope. She was such a sad
woman. Illness had taken her husband, then a grown up son was killed in road accident, and her other son was driven to work abroad as employment opportunities were so poor for him. Not only that, a grandchild had just been hit and badly injured on the newish dirt road running past their house. The road had encroached on the tiny amount of land she owned and she received no compensation. She had received some financial support from the government’s National Reconstruction Agency (NRA) but was unable to complete the work through insufficient money. Purnima helped her to complete the house.
The Purnima programme
also assisted another widow whose son, when aged about nine, was badly injured in an accident involving a scooter. Scars suggested he’d been on assisted ventilation in intensive care. He is now in his twenties and his brain injury has left him with severe Parkinsonism for which he needs to take medicines (to help control his shakes) and which cost several thousand rupees a month. His mother does labouring work to feed them both. She has been trained and given a sewing machine but makes insufficient money from tailoring because her house is some distance from potential clients. The burden of paying for the medicines alone is huge.
We also visited a rather undernourished chap who lived alone and was just about surviving on sporadic income from labouring. He’d also run out of money when his house was partially rebuilt and the Purnima programme was able to help him complete it by putting in windows and doors, a kitchen and roofing.
From Gajuri we drove on to Ajirkot gaun palika to meet Parbati, a mother of three whose husband had become deeply depressed about his inability to provide for his family. He committed suicide three years before. Without him, life for the family became even more of a struggle and, while cutting grass to feed her cow, Parbati fell and sustained a bad leg fracture. Surgery on this put her into debt but didn’t free her of pain nor allow her to return to her usual activities. Purnima were able to help her complete her house and from this more comfortable base she was able to build up her business cooking up millet and distilling it into intoxicating rakshi for sale and this is providing her main income.
There are lots of accidents involving vehicles in Nepal. Especially away from the larger towns, few motorcyclists wear helmets, under age boys drive motorbikes and cars speed around blind bends so toddlers are readily hit. Around 93% of deaths on the roads occur in resource-poor regions like Nepal, and here, steep inclines, even close to homes, also mean there is great potential for falls. Many people sustain significant and life-altering injuries. And when that happens there may not be much support.
For more on the home reconstruction efforts click Building Back Better
. And for another story of supporting a shattered life click Life is a Little Easier