The story of Shanti Majhi
Born into poverty, a mother of four and an earthquake victim - Shanti Majhi has now taken matters into her own hands. This is the story of her hardship, determination and joy in rebuilding an Earth Brick home for her family
Shanti, like many women born into poverty, was married and became a mother at young age. She lives in Majhigaun, a poor village suffering from social issues such as lack of education, hopelessness and alcoholism. Their situation was further worsened by the earthquake, turning family homes into rubbles and forcing them to live under tarps. When Build up Nepal came to Majhigaun Shanti, like many others, wished to have a new home. She was filled with joy when she heard the opportunity that Build up Nepal would support them to build their houses. Along with seven other families they agreed to do all the labor themselves. A few days later, they started training with Build up Nepal.
“It was the most difficult work I ever did in my life but it was satisfying to feel that I was capable to make my own bricks and build my house by myself. So, it felt good at the end of the day despite my body ached.”
Shanti started getting up before sunrise – every morning – to take care of her children, in-laws and cattle, before starting producing Earth Bricks for her new house. She shares her stories of hardship as she decided to build her family a new home.
“It was summer when we started so we had to work under the scorching hot sun. Resting for few minutes and drinking water before getting back to work.”
While building the house there were spectators coming by. Many were curious but Shanti also recalls people passing harsh comments. She felt hurt but she knew that those who passed the comments had no idea about Earth Bricks. She continued building and told them to wait until the house was finished…
“The time we installed the roof and painted the last corners I felt so satisfied. I was happy that I built the house by my own hands. After living under tarps for almost two years it was now so nice to have a comfortable home.”
The people who once passed harsh comments was now admiring the house. Shanti laughs as she says, “Our house looks identical to a brick house, only it’s much better”. It is a great joy to see the people who build their own homes and now enjoy living in it. Remembering the earthquake and the following hardships puts Shanti at unease – the scorching hot summer, the rain, storms and the numbing winter, making their situation close to unbearable.
“Seeing our house turned into rubble, living under a tarp, building my own house and now living in it has been a story of hardship but also joy. I am proud that I had the strength and guts to attempt it and was able to build a home for my family.”
Just like Shanti, the other seven families are also trying to adapt to their new situation. Each family have their own set of challenges but they surely also look content. They have successfully built new safe and comfortable houses and now the process to make them into their homes is still going on…