Bringing water and hope to remote communities in Nepal

Everyday, Sabita Budhatoki would spend two hours, from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., traversing a mountain side to get water for her family and their livestock. Two hours is the minimum amount of time women in her community take to fetch water. Some women live further from the water source, and sometimes they have to go twice a day to get enough to sustain their households. This was the reality of living in the remote community of Dolalghat in Nepal. However, the earthquake in 2015 complicated things further.

Raja Ram Budhatoki“Everywhere there were houses collapsed and everyone was trying to find water,” recalls Budhatoki’s husband, Raja Ram.

“There was no one to support us to bring water to our home,” he said. “The children had to go to school and the parents had to get water, so how does one rebuild their home?”

With almost every house in Kavre damaged by the earthquake, this question preoccupied many minds in the community.

Now, with support from the Red Cross, water access is within reach. Community-led Water User Committees have been established to build and maintain water systems in the community, which will ultimately make water more accessible, eliminating the minimum two hour walk each day to fetch water.

“We are very happy to have this water scheme,” says Keshar Man Lama. “Not just for me, but the entire community, [especially] the women that used to Water pumphave to walk to get it.”

Budhatoki is also happy to have the new water scheme as she sees it as a way for women to have economic empowerment.

“Once the water is here it will allow us to have a kitchen garden,” she says. “This will give us diversity on the types and quantities of food we can grow and sell in the market, which will give us money to provide for our families.”  

Having easier access to water also means that Budhatoki will have more time and resources to tend to her livestock and other household chores.

“You have brought hope into my life,” Budhatoki says.

Sabita BudhatokiBudhatoki’s husband echo’s her sentiment. “We were going to relocate, but now we want to stay here forever,” he says.

Since the 2015 earthquake the Danish Red Cross, with support from the Canadian Red Cross and other Red Cross Movement Partners, has been working on a community-led approach that combines recovery and resilience based interventions. To date, 14 drinking water schemes have been completed and six more are currently under construction. Over 1,000 community members have been involved in cash-for-work programs to complete the water schemes for drinking water, irrigation and mitigation.
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