IMPACT

Nepal Earthquake Survivors Pose With Salvaged Items That Keep Them Going

Some cling to kitchenware, others were lucky enough to find wedding gifts.

Monday marks a year since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, and an achingly slow recovery began. 

Due to internal political upheaval, rebuilding efforts have been delayed, leaving about 3 million people living in temporary shelters with tarpaulin roofs, Reuters reported. 

But some of those who have lost nearly everything, still cling to hope by grasping onto the few priceless belongings they managed to salvage through it all.

Some of those survivors shared their stories with WaterAid, a nonprofit that's been working to bring sanitation and drinkable water to people in need in the region.

  • A Wedding Necklace
    Up until a month ago, Ayushma Lama, 22, lived in a shelter with her 7-month-old baby and husband. The family'€™s brick home w
    WaterAid/ Miguel Samper
    Up until a month ago, Ayushma Lama, 22, lived in a shelter with her 7-month-old baby and husband. The family'€™s brick home was destroyed in the earthquake last year, but they were able to save all of their possessions. Lama says she was most relieved when she recovered a precious necklace.

    "€œI was most happy when we discovered my wedding necklace," Lama told WaterAid. "It was in a cupboard ... I was so happy to see it still there. It was given to me by my husband at our wedding."
  • A Science Book
    After her home collapsed in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Shreesha Duwal, 12, moved with her mother, father, grandfather and one sibling
    WaterAid/ Miguel Samper
    After her home collapsed in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Shreesha Duwal, 12, moved with her mother, father, grandfather and one sibling to the Libali Ganesh IDP Camp, which is now home to 60 families. Getting access to water remains one of the biggest challenges in the camp, according to WaterAid, but Shreesha remains hopeful about her future, thanks to a fortuitous find.

    "I was so happy when they found my Science and Environment textbook," she told WaterAid. "€œI love science and I was very happy. I want to be a doctor. I read this book during school time and at home every day."
  • Toys From Destroyed School
    Ramesh Kharel, 49, retrieved a few toys from the school where he taught children with intellectual disabilities. The Resource
    WaterAid/ Miguel Samper
    Ramesh Kharel, 49, retrieved a few toys from the school where he taught children with intellectual disabilities. The Resource Center for Intellectual Disability collapsed in the earthquake, though the students were spared since it shut down days in advance. Kharela's students, who require special education, now have nowhere to learn since the government has been "€œslow" to rebuild and address the needs of children with intellectual disabilities.

    "We lost so many teaching materials: toys, books, vocational learning materials," Kharel told WaterAid. "€œBut we recovered this bag of plastic blocks for the children."
  • A Pot
    The Mainali family's struggles began long before the earthquake hit. Uttam Mainali, 35, lives with a mental illness that he m
    WaterAid/ Miguel Samper
    The Mainali family's struggles began long before the earthquake hit. Uttam Mainali, 35, lives with a mental illness that he manages with medication, but that also keep him from working. His wife, Ganga, can'€™t work since she takes care of their baby. The family now lives in a temporary shelter and struggles to get their basic needs. WaterAid is helping to build a toilet for the family, which Ganga says will help keep flies away from their food. They were able to salvage one cupboard full of items, which includes a pot.

    "€œI am grateful that we could recover this,"€ Ganga said of the pot. "I use it every day to prepare food and boil our water."
  • A Dress
    When the earthquake hit, Saraswati Duwal, 35, was in the field and was deeply concerned about her children who were at home.
    WaterAid/ Miguel Samper
    When the earthquake hit, Saraswati Duwal, 35, was in the field and was deeply concerned about her children who were at home. Her five-story home was destroyed, but her children made it out safety. Two days later, she and her family moved to the Libali Ganesh IDP Camp in Bhaktapur where they have been ever since. Duwal was grateful to have recovered a single colorful dress from her home.
  • A Wedding Gift
    Prapti Tamang lost her house in the earthquake and now lives in a corrugated metal home that cost about 20,000 Nepalese rupee
    WaterAid/ Miguel Samper
    Prapti Tamang lost her house in the earthquake and now lives in a corrugated metal home that cost about 20,000 Nepalese rupees (about $188) to build. Tamang'€™s husband, who built their original house, has been working in Qatar for three years and hasn'€™t yet seen the destruction. "€œIt will be very painful when he returns," the 24-year-old told WaterAid.

    Tamang was relieved, however, when she found her water jug.

    "I was filled with joy when we found this water jug in the rubble,"€ Tamang told WaterAid. "€œIt was given to me by my sister as a wedding gift when my husband and I were married."
  • A Traditional Tray For Worship
    Laxman Gongaju's five-story home collapsed in the earthquake and the 70-year-old was buried with it. He was trapped for about
    WaterAid/ Miguel Samper
    Laxman Gongaju's five-story home collapsed in the earthquake and the 70-year-old was buried with it. He was trapped for about 30 minutes before he was rescued.

    "œI did not think that I would survive, I could not breathe, and I could not stand," Gongaju, whose leg was severely injured, told WaterAid.

    Gongaju and 13 family members now live in the Libali Ganesh IDP Camp in Bhaktapur. Seven relatives share one tent and they struggle to get enough food and water. While preparing for the new year recently, Gongaju and some family members recovered a few religious items that were buried in the clay. Those included puja thali, a traditional tray with offering bowls used for worshipping.
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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Nepal Earthquake, May 12, 2015
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