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A tea shop infusing hope in Nepal

Gita brews a pot of tea as her two grandchildren rest nearby
Gita brews a pot of tea as her two grandchildren rest nearby

In an ancient town in the Kathmandu Valley, Gita Mali sits in her metal home as she sips loose leaf green tea. She used to own a bustling tea shop but her business, home, and life came crumbling down when an earthquake shook Nepal on 25 April 2015. We have been working with vulnerable families like Gita's to help get them back on their feet.

Gita, 51, lived in a modest two-level home in Sankhu with her husband, her son, his wife and their two children. When Gita's home came tumbling down, she lost her tea shop and her daughter-in-law, Aapti. Aapti was washing clothes at a nearby well where she became trapped in the midst of collapsing buildings.

“The earthquake changed everything. She was so beautiful and a great mother,” says Gita teary-eyed as she holds a portrait of her late daughter-in-law.

Unfortunately, Gita’s story is not unique. The devastating earthquake in 2015, destroyed thousands of homes and lives in less than a minute. Aftershocks and heavy rain in the weeks following led to even more damage and devastation.

After the quake, Gita used her savings to purchase a sheet metal home but did not have enough funds for anything else. Her tea shop was on the first level of her home, which collapsed during the earthquake. Our team in Nepal has helped Gita restore her business so she can continue providing for her family and young grandchildren.

“SOS bought me a gas cooker, pots, glasses, plates, sugar, tea and some other things, which has allowed me to resume my life,” she says.

We were able to provide immediate relief to earthquake victims. Fortunately, no SOS children or staff members were affected by the 205 earthquakes. Several SOS Villages in the Kathmandu Valley opened their doors to provide medical aid, food and water, and shelter to victims.

In the weeks following the devastation, the team launched a kinship programme to support relatives caring for children who have lost their parents. We continue to help caregivers to become sustainable so children can grow up in a secure environment and stay with their families.

A group of school children in Nepal
In Nepal, SOS Children is providing school supplies and reconstructing classrooms so children can return to school

Brewing a resilient future 

One year has passed since Gita’s family lost almost everything. Today, Gita is steeping a pot of hot tea for a number of customers. Her grandchildren Dimon, 7, and Dija, 3, play outside in the warm sunlight just in front of the shop. Gita explains that she is thankful for the support she has received from SOS Children as the next few months will be difficult for her family.

“Soon, my son will no longer be able to care for Dimon and Dija. My husband and I will be their sole caregivers. Fortunately, my teashop is back up and running. I needed those items that SOS Children has provided today more than ever before,” says Gita.

Gita’s son will soon remarry, which means in Nepalese society that he will not care or take responsibility for his children from his previous marriage. This is the harsh reality many children in Nepal are facing. At 51-years-old, Gita is nervous about the future. For women in Nepal, the average life expectancy is 60.

“I will do everything in my power for my grandchildren to grow up with love and have a good education. SOS Children has made that possible for my family,” says Gita.

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