Earthquake Response

Two women from an EDWON group
Two women from an EDWON group

In some villages in Gorkha, not a single house is standing.

Meeting  House
Meeting House

Community meetinghouse built with EDWON’s help

Rebuilding Fund for Gorkha Women

Gorkha, the epicenter of the quake, is home to thousands of people who have lost everything. Dalit women are profoundly discriminated against – even in disaster relief. The women know best what their families and communities need. By giving women groups grants for rebuilding, we are meeting their material needs, while also strengthening their influence and status.

What is the issue ?

In the devastation created by Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, thousands of people need help rebuilding their lives. Gorkha is home to thousands of villagers who have lost their homes and livestock, whose harvest is threatened, their children’s schools in ruin. Outside assistance, if it arrives at all, typically goes through traditional channels: agencies dominated by high-caste men. Since Dalit women and children are marginalized under the best of circumstances, adequate help is far from assured in a crisis.

How will this project solve this problem?

For 15 years, EDWON has worked at the grassroots with women of the “lowest” castes–women, who are profoundly discriminated against–even in disaster relief. EDWON is channeling desperately needed help to the community through 35 long established autonomous women’s groups in Gorkha. The 750 members of these groups rely on their collective savings in times of need. They desperately need access to funds beyond their current savings, as the rebuilding begins. Grants will be channeled through these groups, because we know from experience, that the women know best what their families and communities need.

Long Term Impact

As the chaos of this disaster subsides, and the international relief agencies end their task, the women’s groups will prevail. In spite of losing all earthly possessions, the social capital, the spirit of solidarity and cooperation survives. By giving women grants for rebuilding, we are not only helping with material needs, but also strengthening their influence in the community. Women’s catalytic effect on social change and their focus on family, justice and community will only grow.

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