Amidst the lush green hills of Lakuridada, Dolakha, the sound of grinding of stones breaks the deafening noise of the raging Charaundi River. In a small cabin-like water mill located nearby the river, 47-year-old Dhyan Bahadur Karki is painstakingly grinding maize beans. He gradually bends down on his knees and pours another sack of maize into the grinder.
“I do this every day,” he said. “It is tough due to my physical disability but there is no choice.”
Dhyan Bahadur suffered a spinal injury nearly 20 years ago after falling off a tree while collecting leaves for his cattle. He eventually lost sensation in both his legs as he failed to find timely medical care in the village. As the only bread-winner of his family, it has been a struggle ever since for Dhyan Bahadur to look after his wife (who is also physically challenged) and two school-going kids.
Four years ago, the earthquake badly damaged Dhyan Bahadur’s mill and brought the grinders to a complete halt. He lost his house as well and his family was forced to live in a temporary shelter for nearly two years. Getting a roof above their head became the immediate priority.
“I somehow managed to rebuild the house through the government grant and some borrowings from friends and relatives. But that has only added more financial burden as there are still loans to be repaid. I cannot do it without this water mill,” he added.
After learning about Dhyan Bahadur’s case, the ward level committee recommended his name to the team deputed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). With support from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the UNDP helped Dhyan Bahadur renovate his water mill using cost-efficient and earthquake-resilient containment reinforcement technology using GI wires and bring it back to life.
Within just few months, Dhyan Bahadur was back in business. His water mill currently serves around 80 households in Lakuridanda. The UNDP project now supports 16 small-scale enterprises damaged by the earthquake like that of Dhyan Bahadur in Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk districts.
Despite the crippling circumstances, Dhyan Bahadur’s eyes gleam with energy and he speaks with an air of confidence. He plans on adding one more grinder to husk paddy and expanding his supply for the nearby market.
“I want to do this for my kids,” he said. “I want to give them proper education, so that they don’t have to suffer the way I do every day.”
About the project
The ECHO-funded project ‘Resilient Reconstruction & Recovery of vulnerable communities severely affected by 2015 earthquake’ aims to strengthen resilience of the vulnerable earthquake-affected households and communities to the future disaster risks, through housing reconstruction that are risk-informed, inclusive and participatory.
The project is being implemented in 15 wards of two rural and two urban municipalities in Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha, namely Chautara-Sangachowkgadhi Municipality, Indrawati Rural Municipality, Bhimeswhor Municipality and Shailung Rural Municipality, targeting a total of 14,351 households.
The project is working on the following four thematic areas: