Main Navigation

The women rebuilding Nepal

Despite labour shortages, communities devastated by the April earthquakes continue to rebuild.

Friday September 18, 2015

Pic: Kathleen Walsh

While the world's attention continues to focus on Syria and the global refugee crisis, the monsoon season in Nepal is turning into a cold winter. Life remains tough for the millions of people displaced by the destructive earthquakes that claimed 8,800 lives in April this year. Thousands are still living in camps and makeshift shelters.  

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese men work overseas each year to send money back to their families. With so many men out of the country, tens of thousands of women are helping to rebuild their own homes.  

Up to one in four women head up their households in rural areas of Nepal, says Kathleen Walsh, an Australian Red Cross gender and diversity advisor aid worker. "But in some of the communities I visited, it could be as high as 50 or 60 per cent. So you've got women, the very young and the very old living in those communities."  

Kathleen has just returned from helping after the earthquakes in Nepal earlier this year. Her focus has been to ensure women and people with a disability are included in rebuilding their country.  

There's a huge labour shortage to rebuild in Nepal, Kathleen says, and the focus is making sure that women are aware of how to make their homes more disaster-proof.  

Kathleen has been developing new training for women on how to rebuild homes. The training is being run in villages to make sure it is accessible for the women.  

"It's a really difficult time. When the monsoon finishes it becomes winter. There are a few months ahead of really difficult circumstances for people."  

Listen to Kathleen Walsh speak about her work and experiences on ABC Radio National Life Matters