Rebuilding houses and livelihoods in post-earthquake in Tibet
In April 2015, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal also affected many people in neighboring China. Dozens died in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and thousands of lives were changed.
Chiren Dunzhu lives with his wife and three children in a remote village called Guore, in Dingri country. The village housed a total of 79 homes, and all of them were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair by the quake. The entire population of 336 people was left living in shelters.
“At the time when the earthquake happened, we panicked, and we were scared. We were afraid that we would have (no place) left to live.” Chiren’s recollection of what happened the day the earthquake struck is still very vivid. Even though no one in his family was hurt, they were left feeling extremely vulnerable.
Three years on, Chiren has turned the disaster into something positive. Now, their new house is made of brick, and it will better withstand earthquakes. Chiren helped build the house with support from the local government. By working with the contractors, he helped create a better future for his family.
“Before the quake, I lived in a mud house. Our main income came just from raising cattle. I was satisfied with how things were, and I didn’t attempt to improve my standard of living,” says Chiren. “Having rebuilt our own village, the opportunity to earn money near where we live has increased. I have come to better understand how to make money.”
So the emergency ‘on the job’ building training to get a roof back over their heads has given Chiren and his neighbors' new skills and new careers. With the earnings from his first construction project, Chiren bought a tractor. He’s also clubbed together with two others from the village to buy a car so they can work further from home.
Three years on from the earthquake, Chiren now firmly believes that life can get better whenever you try to change it. “I believe as long as we work hard,” Chiren says, “we can finally realize our dream.”