The story of Birbal Majhi
Earth Brick entrepreneur who has taken it into his own hands to rebuild his village. Birbal used to live abroad for work but he has now found his place building new Earth Brick homes in Majhigaun, Sindhupalchowk.
It has been more than two years since Birbal Majhi’s home collapsed along with almost all the houses in Majhigaun. Birbal is the firstborn son so he has always felt the responsibility to take care of his family. He used to farm the small family land, but it wasn’t enough so soon he left for the Gulf States to find work. For a brief time, they lived off the remittances that Birbal sent home but two years before the earthquake he had returned, sick and unable to work. The earthquake made things much worse. In such critical time, Birbal remember that the opportunity to start training for Earth Bricks had come as a ray of hope for him and other families in Majhigaun.
“Before Build up Nepal came to this village, I assumed that we’ll either have to stay in the temporary shelters or again build traditional mud and stone houses.”
Birbal was very enthusiastic to get started with the training. His days started at 7 am, mixing the soil, sand and cement in perfect proportion, molding it in the machine and carefully placing them to dry. This was his routine and the Earth Bricks quickly started piling up and before they knew it, their first earth brick house was also coming up.
“Sometimes my arms and chest ached but like any other work, I got used to it and when I saw the earth brick house ready, I felt so good.”
The first house was built for the Laxmi Majhi family who were more than happy to move-in to their new home. Birbal says he is impressed by the Earth Bricks and that he feels very safe as the houses are very strong with the reinforcements of rebar, cement and horizontal bands.
“I was praised for my work and supported to take a lead and use my skill to build more earth brick homes in Majhigaun.”
Birbal felt so happy and inspired so he wanted to do more. He continued to make Earth Bricks and build homes. Many people were curious so Birbal started to train others and eventually he had a team of six. They make up the Earth Brick entrepreneurs in Majhigaun and now, a year later, they have built another 10 houses in Majhigaun. They have also got the contract to rebuild the village school and their team is now in the finishing stages of the construction!
“Building with Earth Bricks was a completely new concept for me but I was surprised how easy it was to learn. It takes a great deal of mental and physical strength but the results are worth it.”
Birbal feels grateful for getting the opportunity to learn how to produce and build with Earth Bricks. It has allowed him and the other entrepreneurs to learn a new skill and to build new and safe homes in their village of Majhigaun.
“After learning about Earth Bricks, I encourage everyone to learn this technology and build their own homes. This experience has been very rewarding and enlightening for me.”