22-year-old Bijaya Tamang is one of the volunteers who has been working hard to clear the buildings, which collapsed in the earthquake in Nepal last spring. He has been helping to build shelters for families in Nuwakot, where Fida is working. The smiles of the families reward him for his work.
Where were you when the first earthquake hit?
I was attending a church service in Kathmandu. As quick as a flash, all the participants left the building to go outside when the earthquake started.
Did the earthquake cause any damage to you? Is your family and home safe?
No, I did not lose anything important. My family is OK. We are all safe. Our home, which we are renting, suffered a few cracks. It did not feel safe any longer, so we have moved into a new home.
How did you end up working as a volunteer in the Fida team?
In my heart I wanted to do something for the earthquake victims. It was not quite clear, what should be done and how. A few days later I heard that the Nepal Integral Mission Society (NIMS) had started assisting in the region of Nuwakot. I decided to join them.
What kind of work have you been doing?
Just lately I have been building houses with NIMS in Nuwakot. I learned useful skills about the early stages of building. Those skills have helped me to continue volunteering with NIMS for even longer.
What does it look like now in that region? Which needs are the most pressing at the moment?
The families that we have been able to help are happy. I can see them smiling. That gives me enormous strength and happiness and as a result I continue working with an even greater enthusiasm for these people. In some areas, there is still the need for shelters. It seems that the immediate emergency assistance did not reach far enough for the normal life to continue. Rebuilding is still needed, as well as support for earning a living.
What has been the most touching moment in your volunteer work?
The most touching moment that I remember happened when we were helping a disabled family. All the family members had vision impairment, except the father, who was over 60 years of age. The emotions surfaced at that moment, when I was able to do something to help this family.