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8 May 2024 - Story

“The winterization tent is the first home of my newborn twins”: Sandhya’s story of hope and resilience

Written by Prachi Aryal and Ganga Pyakurel 

Sandhya, 27, was seven months pregnant when the 6.4 earthquake struck Jajarkot and Rukum West. “Those were dark days,” exclaims Sandhya, “we were forced to spend horrific nights under tarpaulins that could hardly shelter us from the cold.” She was worried about her health, and the uncertainty of what would unfold next was daunting. “I, along with my three-year-old daughter, Ashmi, and my husband, spent days shivering inside a flimsy tent; blankets were wet because of the cold and frost, and I worried about the impact the cold would have on my unborn child,” shared Sandhya, reminiscing about the trauma that she and her family went through.

“But, while I was on my way to the hospital for my delivery, I received a call saying my family would be receiving a winterization tent. I breathed a sigh of relief,” expressed Sandhya. The call was from Save the Children Nepal’s partner organization, Hilly Region Development Campaign (HRDC), informing Sandhya that she would be receiving a winterization tent. The winterization tents consist of fire retardant and waterproof materials, equipped with stoves, and have a total living area of 23 square meters. With a glint in her eyes, Sandhya shares, “I gave birth to twins, Dibya and Dristi, and when they came back from the hospital, I set eyes on the white winterization tent.” She continues, “the winterization tent is the first home of my newborn twins.”

Five months since the earthquake hit, the tent has continued to be a haven for her family. With insulation and double-layered protection, her children survived the plummeting temperatures. Now, as the wounds of the quake are beginning to heal, the tent has become more than a home for Sandhya’s family. Sandhya operates a tailoring business from the tent, from which she earns for her family. Her customer base remains small right now, but the earnings help her provide for her family’s basic needs. She juggles between taking care of her three children and running the business.

“Right now, it is not much as I am also learning, however, with time as we build back our house, I want to expand my business and reach more people,” says Sandhya with a glimmer of hope in her eyes. “Until then, this is our home and hope.” The winterization tents provided by Save the Children through the support of ECHO have reached 800 families severely affected by the earthquake. The support has not been limited just to shelter but has also worked on areas of hygiene promotion, latrine construction, and psychosocial support.