29 April 2016
Nepal Earthquake: One Year On
One year on from the first of the devastating earthquakes which struck Nepal in 2015, UN Women is still working alongside local women’s groups and other agencies to respond to the needs of women and girls in Nepal and to promote their role in the recovery and reconstruction of the nation.
UN Women created five multipurpose women’s centres immediately following the earthquake. These multipurpose centres, still operating today, are safe spaces where women can access information, counselling and trauma assistance as they deal with the aftermath of the earthquakes and rebuild their lives. To date approximately 42,703 women have accessed these spaces for help. Women like Kalpana.
On April 23, 2015, Kalpana dropped her four year-old daughter off at her mother’s house for a visit. Two days later, when the earthquake hit, Kalpana’s daughter was sleeping in her cot in a separate room from Kalpana’s mother. The ground shook with such force that the house collapsed immediately. The aftershocks continued with great force, preventing anyone from being able to access the remains of the house or reach Kalpana’s daughter. Once the aftershock had slowed, Kalpana and her family tried to dig her daughter out, but it was too late.
Devastated, Kalpana was consumed by the trauma and pain of losing a child. Suffering severe depression, she was a shell of her former self, often staring into space, becoming non-responsive, and disappearing for weeks on end.
Eventually, Kalpana was referred to one of UN Women’s multipurpose centres for counselling and, seven months on, the treatment she is receiving there is allowing her to make progress and begin to heal.
“I like visiting the Centre, it makes me feel safe to know that there are people that I can talk to about how bad or good I feel”
With the support of UN Women, Kalpana is now able to look toward the future. She hopes to fulfil her dream of opening a hair and beauty salon and make enough money to support her family.
“Now I know that I have to live for me; that I have to be healthy and happy because my family, my in-laws depend on me.”