Habitat for Humanity in Nepal

To donate to the work of Habitat for Humanity, click here

To view the official Habitat for Humanity Nepal 100 Days On report, click here

The earthquake that hit Nepal on 25 April 2015 caused massive damage and high loss of life. Subsequent aftershocks flattened buildings damaged by the first earthquake. Families and communities, afraid to return home, set up camp in tent cities. The government of Nepal declared a state of emergency and requested international aid.

We are working in cooperation with the government of Nepal and as part of a network of humanitarian agencies focused on shelter provision, to ensure our response is as effective as possible. We have distributed temporary shelter kits, cleared rubble and debris, helped to train local communities on how to build for themselves and are planning how best to rebuild permanently.

Shelter is a critical need as monsoon season descends on Nepal. With your help, we can make a tangible and life-changing difference to families and communities who have lost everything.

  • Over 8,800 people were killed
  • Over 604,900 homes were destroyed
  • Over 290,000 homes were damaged

Our response so far:

  • Over £350,000 raised by HFH Great Britain alone
  • Over 2,300 temporary shelter kits distributed across 4 districts including to over 160 families with members who are visually impaired
  • 21 demonstration temporary shelters built to train local community members how to use the contents of shelter kits to build for themselves
  • 20,000 water backpacks distributed to local communities, supported by over 60 volunteers
  • 40 surveyors have been trained and safety assessments for 3,400 houses have been conducted

Our aims:

  • 45 demonstration permanent homes will be built by Habitat for Humanity. These demonstration houses provide hands-on training for partners and communities, providing guidance on using appropriate and affordable materials and the step-by-step process to building an earthquake-resilient house. Through these demonstrations, Habitat for Humanity is able to impart its technical expertise to others and multiply support to greater numbers of families.
  • 100 permanent homes will be built by Habitat for Humanity in one location as an example of complete community revitalisation. In addition to building homes, Habitat for Humanity will liaise with others to provide infrastructure and basic services.
  • Habitat for Humanity will share its experience of working with partners – government, private companies, microfinance institutions or community savings groups – and details of the resources and materials needed in order to deliver the project. The community will act as a case study example, so other organisations can replicate the project in different locations, scaling up operations and thereby supporting more families.
  • Technical assistance provided to support thousands more families to build their own homes. Habitat for Humanity will recruit and train teams to ensure quality and earthquake-resilience. This work is expected to take place over the next 3-5 years.

Habitat for Humanity is continuously looking for new opportunities to support those affected by the Nepal earthquakes and regularly refining its long-term strategy in order to effectively respond to changing needs in-country.

The targets and programs activity listed here are correct as of 31 July 2015.


Looking ahead

Recovery from a disaster takes time and Habitat’s work in the early stages is key to families regaining a sense of normalcy. Using materials from temporary shelter kits distributed by Habitat for Humanity, families have built temporary shelter which provides better protection from the elements and storage space for food and scarce possessions. Materials from the temporary shelter can also be re-used to build permanent homes. 

The Nepal government will be implementing a rehabilitation and reconstruction plan to ensure the building of cost-effective and earthquake-resistant structures with the use of local materials and resources.In view of the great need, Habitat for Humanity aims to build capacity to support families accessing financial resources, in the form of anticipated grants and soft loans, with construction technical assistance and construction skills training. Loans and grants could come from a range of sources, like government or local and international financial institutions.


Your support has helped us to serve families such as these:

Peace of mind
When Sanila Danuwar first received the temporary shelter built by Habitat for Humanity in late May 2015, it was a simple structure made of corrugated tin sheets, wires and rods. When a Habitat for Humanity team visited Sanila and her family a week later, the shelter had ‘walls’ made of tin sheets and bamboo salvaged from the family’s earthquake-affected house. Inside their shelter, Sanila, 27, her husband and her three-year-old daughter share a bed under a mosquito net while her father-in-law will sleep on a pallet.

Sanila’s father-in-law had been sleeping out in the open after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck Nepal  on 25 April. He fell ill following a strong storm which hit Pipaltar village, Panchkal municipality, Kavre district.  Sanila is thankful that her father-in-law, who is hospitalized for pneumonia, will have a safe place to come home to.

Having lived in a tent before she received the shelter, Sanila can sleep better now.  She has resumed working in the field, harvesting her tomatoes. “Now I am not worried that a strong wind might blow my home away,” Sanila said.

Sanila and her family can now focus on nursing her father-in-law back to health. They are planning on eventually building a permanent home.

Build back better
Ranuki Danuwar’s biggest fear after experiencing the magnitude-7.8 earthquake on 25 April was that more earthquakes hit Nepal. “My husband was able to return to work a week after the earthquake. I could not farm for a month—I was too worried that more earthquakes would happen. I only returned to farming because my husband said, ‘Earthquakes will happen, but life has to go on.’“

Her fears stem partly from seeing all the destruction that the earthquake has wrought on her village in Pipaltar, Kavre district. Most of the houses in her community had been either destroyed or damaged and everyone in her neighborhood had to live in tents. Her family had to share a tarpaulin with two other families in the first few days after the quake.

Ranuki considers it a blessing that Habitat for Humanity provided all 93 families in her village with temporary shelter kits  on 26 May. Under the guidance of her eldest son, Simiraj, 27, community members helped built temporary shelter to protect each family and their store of food from the elements. According to Ranuki, people from neighboring villages visited Pipaltar when they learned that Habitat was building temporary shelter. They were curious about the temporary shelter and wanted to see how it was built.

On 8 July, Ranuki and her husband Kansa, 47, broke ground for the construction of their new home, the first of permanent houses that Habitat will build as part of the earthquake response.   About 30 people, including Habitat staff, volunteers, and some community members who  would be receiving permanent houses, witnessed the milestone.

“I’m very happy that we have shelter using materials from the temporary shelter kit that Habitat provided,” she said. “I’m even happier now, knowing that permanent houses will be built for families in my community.”

For Ranuki, her experience of the earthquake has taught her one thing: “I realized that earthquakes don’t kill people. What kills people are the poorly-made structures that they built.”

Like other villagers in Pipaltar, Ranuki learned that  houses should not be built on a slope. The construction of multi-story houses  should also be avoided.  Pointing to her own two-story house that was damaged in the earthquake, Ranuki said: “We spent so much money building that house, and now it sits useless.”

Ranuki urged: “We need to tell more people, even outside of Nepal, that our focus should be on building earthquake-resilient houses.”


Habitat for Humanity: Our History in Nepal

Habitat for Humanity began working in Nepal in 1997 and has since helped over 10,000 families.

Habitat for Humanity houses are built using local construction technologies in various project areas based on the availability of materials.

In the hilly Kavre district, stone and sun dried brick houses are popular whereas in urban areas such as Pokhara and Chitwan, kiln-fired bricks and hollow cement blocks are used to build homes. Nepal

In eastern Nepal project areas, bamboo is the predominant building material. Bamboo is fast-growing, easy to use, environmentally friendly, and durable.

Through its partner organisations, Habitat for Humanity has trained homepartners in bamboo cultivation and in the use of bamboo technology.

Habitat for Humanity has established a facility in Jhapa to produce corrugated bamboo roofing sheets as an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to corrugated iron roofing.

The facility provides employment opportunities to families as well as low-cost roofing materials.

Each home partner family contributes sweat equity, or their own labour, in building their own house as well as those of others. Families also provide raw materials to reduce the loan they have to repay.


Meet a familyNepal homepartner

Babuniya’s story is no different that hundreds of others in Nepal who have lived a life of a “bonded labour” or “Kamaiya”. 

When the Kamaiya system was abolished in 2000, Babuniya and her family were left with no home and no work.

Eventually Babuniya received a plot of land from the government. With money from Habitat for Humanity and re-using building materials from her old house, she has been able to build the home she needed.

Today she is very happy and feels she can make a very good home and life for herself.

Her daughter, Rajkumari is also very happy that now they have a proper house that does not leak or get cold in winter. The family can raise chickens and grow vegetables too.

The biggest difference Babuniya feels after building her own house is that she is motivated to do more. They have since made a cement platform for the water pump, which helps the whole neighborhood. Once the house loan is paid off she will take out another loan for a permanent toilet. 


Get Involved

Habitat for Humanity's work in countries like Nepal rely on your support.

You can also volunteer to work alongside a family building their new home.


Nepal factfile

Capital Kathmandu
Population* 29,890,000
Life expectancy* 66 years
Literacy* 60.3% 
Unemployment rate (% of labour force without jobs)* 46% 
Population below poverty line* 30.9%
Human Development Index** 157

*Stats from World Factbook as of August 2012
** Stats from UNDP.org 2011 rankings