Agroecology Rebuilds Rural Livelihoods of Women in Post-Earthquake Nepal

Women Farmers and Goats 

The recent earthquakes in Nepal devastated the lives of millions of small farmers and other rural people. They killed at least 8,800 people, completely destroyed some 594,000 houses and severely damaged another 280,000. In all, more than 2.3 million people cannot return to live in their homes. Most of them are living in temporary shelters made of tarps located on land close to their ruined houses. They are working to re-establish their damaged farms, while using their half-collapsed houses to cook or store goods as they gradually rebuild them.

Earthquake Destruction

The village of Chiri Kharka was among the most affected communities. The destruction there was so complete that the 15 surviving families abandoned their land and moved to the nearby village of Mahankal, where they have taken up temporary residence in makeshift shelters on borrowed land while they look for a new home.

Despite their lost friends, their crumbled houses and scarred landscape, people smile and laugh as they get on with the business of living. Proof of their resilience is everywhere: In the weeks since the earthquake, they have managed to move their families and salvage belongings across a mountain, build shelters, plant crops, and begin re-establishing their herds, as collapsed pens and buildings killed many of their goats and cows.

Chiri Kharka is on the mend, and its healing is being led by its young women leaders, such as Saraswati and Parabati Thapa Magar, the secretary and treasurer of the women’s group they helped form 11 months ago.

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