Nepal earthquake: Tackling violence gives hope to families

By: 
CARE
Kami Granden and Jit Lal Tamang with their son and daughter inside their temporary shelter

Jit Lal Tamang, from Banskharkha village in Sindhupalchowk region – one of the areas hardest hit by the 2015 earthquakes – helps to carry a bucket of water inside the temporary shelter he and his family lives in, while his wife, Kami Granden, cooks. But family life was not always this peaceful. Kami says:

At one point in time I thought of killing myself because of the fights I had with my husband.

Kami’s voice echoes the concerns of many women in the country who silently endure gender-based violence from their own spouse or other family members. Social stigma around domestic violence is high in remote villages like Banskharkha, and cases of violence rarely surface in the community. They stay confined within the boundaries of people’s homes.

“My husband used to drink alcohol and hit me. He would get very violent,” recalls Kami.

More than for myself, I was worried about my children’s safety.

Jit Lal further adds: “My alcoholism affected everything. We had difficulty managing our household expenses and paying our children’s school fees.”

Unfortunately many men who lived through the terrible earthquakes that struck Nepal in April and May last year share his story. Consumption of alcohol was on the rise after the earthquakes – it was used as a way of coping with the tragedy – and alcohol has since been one of the root causes of violence against women in the earthquake-affected districts.

CARE helped couples such as Jit Lal and Kami to start afresh. CARE Nepal has been conducting various awareness-raising programmes on gender-based violence, for example through radio programmes and information volunteers who have reached out to families in many districts. Kami explains how she attended one of these sessions:

It gave me the courage to speak up about the violence I faced at the hands of my husband.

She was also able to convince her husband to attend a counselling session conducted by CARE.

“At the counselling session, they told me to ponder upon my children’s future,” says Jit Lal. He adds:

For the first time, I realised the negative impact my behaviour had on my children. This realisation was a turning point for me.

Kami says that now her husband has stopped drinking alcohol altogether: “Things are so much better now. We are able to manage our expenses well and send our children to school.”

But most importantly, our children deserve happiness and we are now able to give them a peaceful environment.

CARE's response

More than 39,000 women and adolescent girls in Nepal have benefited since the earthquakes from CARE’s services addressing gender-based violence, including female-friendly spaces for survivors of gender-based violence, training sessions, and awareness-raising conducted by trained information volunteers.

Since April 2015, CARE has assisted nearly 200,000 people from nearly 40,000 households as part of our Nepal earthquake emergency response. More than 138,000 people benefited from shelter assistance including tarpaulins, blankets, mattresses and solar lamps as well as training on how to rebuild homes. More than 128,000 people benefited from access to clean water. More than 100,000 people benefited from livelihoods support including cash-for-work, cash grants and/or support to start their own businesses and grow their own crops. We also trained birth attendants and provided women and adolescent girls with reproductive health kits.

More than one-quarter of CARE’s earthquake response in Nepal was funded by donations from the UK public and by grants from the UK Department for International Development. Thank you so much for your support.

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