In November 2014, Journey Nepal is opened their first safe house refuge for women who have suffered abuse. We have a lovely 4 room house that has some land around it so the women can grow fruit and vegetables.
The abuse of women is a serious problem in Nepal – especially in the rural areas, where female literacy is low and secondary education even lower. Our centre provides accommodation, education and skills training for these women to rebuild their lives. We are very aware that the project needs to be sustainable and not rely on charity. The skills the women will learn will be used to produce products that we can sell in Australia and elsewhere, so they will be empowered and able to earn a living and rebuild their lives.
Our Team Nepal Board will oversee the project in Nepal and a Board of Australian women will oversee the sales and marketing program in Australia.
The earthquake of April 2015 brought completely new challenges. The Journey Nepal safe house had moved location to be closer to the centre of Kathmandu less than a month before the earthquake. Thankfully, our new house was undamaged and our residents were uninjured in the original quake or the after shocks that followed. We were expecting a new resident and her two children to arrive on the day of the earthquake and were very concerned about her in the immediate aftermath. Thankfully she was OK and had been visiting her village (which was destroyed) so eventually made it back to Journey Nepal and is living with us now.
Immediately following the earthquake we had calls from other agencies to take in their women because their buildings were damaged. We took in two women who here recovering from horrific burns and other women and children. They have since returned to the original organisations once new arrangements had been made.
Anticipating ongoing issues is difficult in an emergency situation. One serious problem that arose was the flooding caused by the monsoon. The monsoon happens every year but following the earthquake there was flooding in unexpected places including our safe house. This occurred because the earthquake caused damage and rerouteing of the drainage pipes, roads and streams in Kathmandu. Consequently we needed to move from that location in August 15 and we’re searching for new premises, which is very challenging given the number of homeless people in Kathmandu all searching for somewhere to live.