Indra Kumari Raut, an 83-year-old lady, resides alone in Those VDC ward number 5 at Ramechhap district in Nepal. Married at 7 years of age as a second wife to a much older man, she lost her husband when she was still very young. She gave birth to two sons and raised them alone. Her husband’s brothers were hesitant to provide her with her share of the property after her husband’s death. They gave her the smallest share they could. Now her sons are grown up and live close by, but Mrs. Raut chose to live alone. She is still actively working in her fields growing vegetables on the land she kept for herself after dividing what she owned among her sons.

The April Earthquake destroyed about half a million houses in Nepal, Mrs. Raut’s house in Those was one of them. Since then, she had been living in the shelter made out of bamboo mats (chitra). Her shelter was cold and did not protect her from the freezing weather, strong winds or dampness caused by rain. The rain used to seep inside her poorly covered shelter.

Following the recommendation from ward level meeting for shelter support, her household was visited and assessed by GOAL teams. After the assessment she was considered one of the 1500 most vulnerable households in the GOAL’s working area (roughly 27% of the total population in six working VDCs were targeted). As such GOAL Nepal supported her with the shelter material package (CGI sheeting, tools, tie-wire, etc.) funded by ECHO. Using the materials and with some savings, she was able to get a safe and weather proof shelter. Having adequately built the shelter, she also received the conditional cash grant from GOAL for the labour expenses (which covers 3 to 4 ‘labour days’ – $24 total).

Mrs. Raut is well aware that she will not be in a position to ever rebuild her former home, and despite government financial support, knows that she will spend her last days in this shelter, built on the land where her previous shelter remains in rubble.

This is the reality for most of the vulnerable families and with savings expected in the current project, GOAL are looking to further support these vulnerable groups, considering the provision of smokeless stoves, insulation materials and solar lights for those without electricity.

In GOAL’s previous ECHO-funded winterization project in the same area which started in December 2015, GOAL had also provided Mrs. Raut with winter clothing, blankets and plastic sheeting to better insulate her shelter and keep her warm. Now with additional shelter support, as an elderly woman living on her own, Mrs. Raut is extremely grateful for the support provided by GOAL/ECHO and that she can now remain in her original house in relative comfort.