Volunteering in Nepal:

Rebuilding Damaged Homes

We sent out a team to volunteer in Nepal, including interior designer and TV presenter Julia Kendell, to rebuild homes that were destroyed or damaged by several earthquakes over the past decades.

The two videos below tell about their trip, why they chose to volunteer in Nepal and what they thought of the experience.

You will also meet the homeowner they had the chance to work with – Dalli Danuwar – a woman living with her children and grandchildren, and get a glimpse of the conditions in which the family was living.  The below is the transcript from both videos.

What is a home? 

Home should be the safest and happiest place you can be. Offering protection and security for your family; somewhere to thrive and somewhere to retreat to at the end of the day.

But for millions of families across the world, that simply isn’t the case. Many are living in very damp, dark conditions with no protection against the elements. Let me introduce you to a family in Nepal who are living in just these conditions.

Dalli’s old house – damaged by earthquakes

This tiny 2-room clay house, very common in these regions of Nepal, is home to Dalli Danuwar her son, daughter-in-law and small granddaughters. But that’s not all they also share this house with their goats, their cow and the chickens. It’s very smoky, which causes frequent coughs and risk of respiratory diseases in the long run.

It’s also been damaged by an earthquake about a year ago and I think one more earthquake could bring the whole house down. Not a secure place to bring up your children at all.

The top floor where the family sleeps and lives has no protection for the grandchildren to stop them from falling down the staircase. There is only one room for the entire family to sleep in.

But Dalli is hopeful, since, she says “with the help of the community and Habitat for Humanity, we have been promised a new home.”

“It’s definitely given me hope for the future, and for the kids as well. They used to ask me why everyone had new homes and we didn’t. So now they’re excited that they have one too.”

About the volunteers in Nepal

462 volunteers from 14 countries have gathered in Nepal to build new homes for 35 families in Nepal.

Julia Kendell – “I’m very, very sad to leave”

“When I came to Nepal, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Where we started out as strangers at the beginning of the week, I feel a real affinity now with the family. It’s really fabulous, they’ve really touched my heart. I think in a year’s time their lives are going to be entirely different.

Now they’ve got this light, bright, shiny new house. It will entirely change their status within the community. I can really sense, as I sensed many years ago when I finally had my own home, what a change that makes to you. Dalli looks really excited for her little girls and that’s the way it should be for everybody. I’ve just had a brilliant time and I’m very, very sad to leave.”

Reconstruction Nepal post earthquake old new home Dalli Danuwar
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Rebuilding Dalli Danuwar’s home after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal

What other volunteers thought of the opportunity

“I’m a regular desk monkey. It’s really good to get some physical labour for myself and to do something good for someone else.” (Bonnie)

“I think the difference for them will be like night and day – far more than we can imagine. The kids have started sleeping in here already [while the house is still under construction] – that’s how excited they are. I enjoy physically doing it, you can see where your money is going, where you’re helping people. You’re making a difference.” (Steve)

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