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[Nepal]Water has come to my house for the first time! 6 years after the earthquake

Children full of curiosity in the water flowing out of a tap.

The day this photo was taken had been a day full of “first experiences” for these three children. Not only the voices of children, but also the cheerful laughter of adults and the voices of joy full of excitement had echoed throughout the village.
6 years ago, before these children were born, the earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015. It destroyed the water source used by the villagers until that day, and therefore, these children had never seen the flowing water in their village as there was no managed private pipes until that day.
At first, the children bent themselves forward in front of clear water flowing from the tap, looking at the water with glittering smiles. Then, they touched the water timidly and kept holding their hand under the water. It seemed as if they enjoyed the feeling of the water force which kept pushing their hands to the ground.
When a bucket under the tap became full, they brought an empty plastic bottle and again started storing the flowing water as if to say, “we are not going to waste the water”.
You can tell how little water these small children have lived with until now, from their behaviors such as only having the water in their mouths or washing toys.

The children who keep looking at the water

We, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) with an affiliated organization, Institution for Suitable Actions for Prosperity (ISAP), have been implementing a project in Sindhupalchok District including Dadakateri village where these children live, in order to supply safe water to people and improve their livelihood through vegetable production.

Dadakateri village

In this village, after the water source dried due to the earthquake, people tried to pipe water from other water sources. However, the water dried up in the dry season and the villagers could not help but go to fetch the water every day which takes them more than an hour on foot.

A woman carrying a water jar

Rama, who lives in this village, said, “Although my household has only three people, myself, my husband and my 8-year-old daughter, our livestock also need water. Therefore, I have to fetch 2 gallons of water (about 7.5 liters) regularly, and sometimes even more. The problem of water shortage is even serious in households with many people. My husband and I go to nearby villages occasionally to fetch water in the dry season. Some people are nice and supportive, while others taunt us for coming this far to fetch water. It is hurtful sometimes.” It seemed that fetching water was not just a physical burden but also a psychological burden for the villagers.
In the peak of the dry season, water for agricultural purposes is also necessary in addition to the water for families and livestock use. Some villagers wake up at 1:00 am to fetch water during the busy farming season to sow maize seeds.

Rama doing laundry with scarce water in the dry season.


The amount of water in the dry season

We conducted a Maintenance Training for the water facilities to enable the community members to identify and manage minor faults in the system as long as they can. We are also supporting the establishment of a water-utilization system in the village, such as how to collect water charges and use them for the maintenance costs. With these strategies in place, we intend to ensure that the children will not be troubled by water shortage even when they grow up. As the access to water in the community has improved now, we are planning to support their livelihood by teaching them skills related to vegetable production which will benefit the nutrition and income level of the community.
We will continue to support communities like this for improved water supply and enhanced livelihood of people.

A participant in the Maintenance Training turning a faucet


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