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HAT - Humanitarian Aid Trust Nepal

Water – Changing Lives In Lakhudanda

Every­one who loves Nepal knows it: it is a beau­ti­ful, pre­cious, some­times per­ilous land of extremes. Its moun­tain slopes are espe­cially so. They’re awe-inspir­ing and majes­tic, but impos­si­bly steep, rugged and harsh to live on.

This inspir­ing true story starts there, hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres from Kath­mandu, with a common, over­whelm­ing problem. It ends with a solu­tion that holds out hope for some of Nepal’s poorest com­mu­ni­ties — those that cling to the soaring sides of its lonely, arid mountains.

The problem was access­ing water. It was avail­able but from the river down hills so steep they were more like cliffs. Often girls were required to carry water, leaving less time for school. Elderly or infirm vil­lagers were vul­ner­a­ble. And without water, the village was trapped in poverty, unable to irri­gate land or sustain its people.
When INF visited Lakhu­danda, though, they met Gajen­dra. Gajen­dra saw that if the rain­fall over the village could be cap­tured in a par­tic­u­lar type of con­crete tank, it could sustain them far into the future. The steep terrain had pre­vi­ously made that impos­si­ble, but Gajen­dra had an ambi­tious plan and he shared it with us. After careful assess­ment, INF Nepal agreed to try.

Neigh­bours were scep­ti­cal. The work was bru­tally hard. Sand for the water tank had to be dug from the river on the plains below, then painstak­ingly carried up narrow tracks on the moun­tain­side by donkey.

Immense chal­lenges plagued the work at every turn. In the words of the INF Nepal team, as though the intim­i­dat­ing slope was not enough, “colos­sal rocks loom all around”, making every aspect of the task harder. In the end, Gajen­dra says it took the fierce deter­mi­na­tion and com­bined grit of the vil­lagers, the local ward office and INF Nepal to see it through.

“We overcame every obstacle to construct this tank, a standing testament to our collective perseverance.”