Urmila’s husband suddenly disappeared one day in 2003. The Maoist war was still raging in the country and disappearances were quite common during those days. Some people told her that he got killed, but Urmila has neither heard from her husband nor seen his dead body in the decade and a half since he went missing. “I was just one month pregnant with my younger child when it happened,” she said,
tears welling up in her eyes. Her older daughter was only three years old at the time. Soon after, her in-laws began mistreating her, ultimately forcing her out of the house. She and her daughter took refuge in her maternal home for eight years before moving into a house built for her by one of her relatives. “But the house is built poorly in a secluded area, so I felt unsafe being there alone with my young daughters” she added, “People knocked on the door at all hours during day and night. We were easy prey for stalkers as there was nobody who can stand up for us.”
The hut has bamboo and straw walls with mud plaster on both sides. The walls are falling apart and the roof is made of thin tin sheets, and leaks when it rains. “The walls were damaged by the floods in 2017. I feel just one kick can bring the whole house down, so we find it very unsafe to live in that house,” she said.
Urmila struggles to support her daughters’ education and thought it better to marry her elder one off as soon as she reached the legal age for marriage. She and her younger daughter currently live with the same relative who built the house for her along with his six other family members.
The house is crammed with people and belongings and it offers neither privacy nor a peaceful environment for my daughter to study” she said. Although she would love to have a strong house and live separately, it is a dream she thinks will never materialise as the widow’s pension and the money she earns as a farmhand or a construction labor is just enough for their sustenance.
In 2020 we will be helping Urmila and over 150 more families in Nepal realise their dream of a safe shelter.
Click here for more information about how you can ‘Stand up for Urmila.