From disaster, to shelter, to rebuilding
On April 25, Samjhana was just outside her mother’s house, helping her wash clothes. Samjhana’s 22-month-old son Rojan was sleeping inside the home. Suddenly, the women felt the ground shake under their feet. “My mother grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the house,” Samjhana said. “I saw the roof falling down.” Then she panicked. “I remembered my son was sleeping inside. I cried for help.”Neighbours rushed over. They heard Rojan’s sharp, unmistakable cries, and found him lying on the floor, alone and terrified, but alive. Little Rojan was carried out of the rubble and placed into his mother’s arms.
Rojan was one of the more fortunate children to survive the earthquake, emerging unscathed with only a few scrapes and bruises. For the next three days, Samjhana stayed in a tent with her parents and son, eating only what food emergency aid could provide. When she returned to the home, Samjhana was overcome with sadness. Their home had been severely damaged and her family was now living in a makeshift tent.
Samjhana’s family is just one of thousands who received a temporary shelter kit from Habitat for Humanity Nepal later that June. With her relatives help, Samjhana used the kit to build a temporary shelter, and she immediately moved in with her family.
Since her husband works overseas, Samjhana is solely responsible for caring for their family. “It was never easy to live in a temporary shelter,” she said. “In winter, we were battling the bitter cold. Now that summer is approaching, we fear the snakes.” But working with Habitat Nepal and local masons, Samjhana is now building a two-room brick and cement house.
“Home is a place where family can rest, and children can grow up well,” Samjhana said, smiling. “Now that I see my new house being constructed, I feel like I have found a place to proudly call home.”