Surya was eating a meal when the earthquake struck. Her father-in-law called to her to get out of the house, but she didn’t make it in time. The roof fell in and trapped her. Without the help of her mother and father-in-law, who rescued her, Surya would have died.

The family had just experienced a massive quake measuring a staggering 7.8 in magnitude. Tremors were felt as far away as Delhi and whole villages across Nepal were completely flattened.

Home after home was destroyed

In Surya’s village of Phataksila, the devastation was terrifying. Home after home had been lost and many people were missing. Surya’s own son, who had been playing outside, was nowhere to be seen.

As soon as Surya had recovered from the shock of being almost buried alive, she started to look for her son. She was very worried, but thankfully he was safe and unharmed. He had been playing in an open field at the time – if he’d been at home, he might not have survived.

Completely buried

The family weren’t able to salvage much from the house, as many things were completely buried in the quake, but they created a makeshift shelter from old pieces of corrugated iron and wood.

We were able to help Surya and other families in her village. We provided them with a ShelterKit full of materials to mend and create shelters.

We also showed the community how to use the kits in a variety of ways to build back safer homes – homes that will be more resilient to future quakes.

New home

The family used the heavy-duty tarpaulin to make a waterproof shelter, which provided them with a sturdy temporary shelter before they created their new home.

Surya not only used the tools included in the kit to help secure the structure, but to dig the fields and replace crops that were destroyed by the power of the quake.

We’ve now helped provide shelter for almost 68,000 people left homeless after the Nepal earthquakes.

However, our work never stops. Disasters and conflict around the world mean that there are families in need of shelter 365 days a year.

If another earthquake happened, it wouldn’t be like before. The new shelter is safer and I wouldn’t be trapped again.

Surya is confident about the future

Global Stories of Impact