Earthquake Relief in Nepal
Asal Chhimekee [ACN], which means Good Neighbours in English, is the social arm of the Pokhara Christian Community [PCC], a network of over 40 Churches. Since 2003, ACN has been involved in health and development projects in two districts in Nepal. Since the devastating earthquakes earlier this year ACN has partnered with local government, INF and other organisations to bring immediate relief to earthquake and landslide victims.
PCC/ACN’s rapid response to help the victims of the devastating landslide in Lumle, was reported in September Prayer Notes. Mr Raju Adhikari, Chief Executive Officer of ACN thanks those in the UK who have prayed for and, via INF, have financially enabled ACN to assist the victims of disaster both in the short and longer term.
Building trust in Shrinathkot
Shrinathkot is a village area in Gorkha District, near the epicentre of the earthquake in April. ACN has a formal agreement for helping this community rebuild and develop resilience to future disasters.
ACN has been able to supply and distribute water filter kits and other essentials in Shrinathkot, but the following report is inspirational, in that it appears to show that building trust is a significant element in helping a community to recover after a disaster.
Raju reports that ACN decided to work through, and not over the heads of, local government officials in Gorkha District. Early on in the collaboration, 360 bundles of corrugated galvanised iron sheets for building shelters were sourced, purchased and taken to Gorkha for distribution by ACN. There was also £3,000 for distribution to Shrinathkot residents who elected, under Government rules, to receive cash rather than the supplied sheeting.
The government’s Disaster Response Committee in Gorkha, temporarily warehoused the sheeting and took responsibility for the cash. When the distribution took place, people were fully aware of what had been donated and waited patiently for their turn. ACN staff at the time were amazed that there were none of the usual complaints of poor distribution management and resulting scrambles. Officials and villagers were keen to work together to distribute the roofing and cash.
The chief official in his vote of thanks to ACN, not only thanked the organisation for the sheeting and cash, but for the trust and respect shown to the local government officials, and this had been a great encouragement to them. It had inspired them to work harder for the community, and the villagers, in response, had showed greater trust in their officials.
Raju says that everyone knew that the resources had been given by Christians from Pokhara and from around the world. There had been mistrust among locals of the motivation of Christian organisations, but by showing love, support and by working transparently and collaboratively with local officials and residents, ACN has done much to change this perception. People in Shrinathkot now seem more welcoming to Christians, and the three local Churches have gained more local acceptance and respect.
Pray for continued good communication between ACN and local officials
Please pray for wisdom for Raju and his team as they continue to work in Shrinathkot