On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook Nepal. Heifer International has worked in Nepal since 1957 to reduce poverty and build sustainable family enterprises with animals like sheep, goats, ducks and water buffalo. At the time of the earthquake, Heifer was working with 171,000 farmers in 39 districts to develop goat and dairy enterprises. By strengthening local production, Heifer works to reduce imports of goats and milk into Nepal and enabling local farmers to develop income sources.
In the communities where Heifer works, 108 people were killed during the earthquake; 378 were injured; 11,336 houses collapsed; 21,142 houses were damaged; and 3,162 livestock died. Heifer Nepal, in coordination with Nepal's District Disaster Relief Committees (DDRCs), responded immediately, providing relief supplies, including blankets, tarpaulins, foam mattress rolls and plastic sheets, to more than 22,000 families in 13 districts.
But Heifer's work didn't end there. Experts agree long-term recovery can take months or years depending on when and where disasters strike, and Heifer is committed to building sustainable, thriving communities. Following the period of immediate relief, Heifer has assisted more than 31,000 families and distributed $2.5 million in revolving funds to families in 40 communities that sustained significant damage. The fund is interest-free for two years, and participants begin making payments back to the fund 12 months after their initial disbursement. This approach encourages participants to become active members in their recovery, rather than becoming dependent on aid. The fund will be continually reinvested in the community, and cash flow will further help boost local economies by stimulating local markets.
Here is what sustainable development looks like in the aftermath of disaster.