Armed with the necessary skills, Doma is now building houses. She not only works as a mason but also leads other masons in the rebuilding process.
Doma Sherpa is one of the few young women in Khartal, a village in Bigu Rural Municipality-5 of Chilankha, Dolakha, who remains unmarried at the age of 23. None of her friends are still living in their fathers’ house.
Though early marriage is common in her village, Doma has been committed to marry only after she becomes self-sufficient. She lost her father seven years ago and her mother remains busy working on the fields and doing household chores.
The devastating earthquake in April 2015 flattened her house and since then Doma has always been looking to understand how to prevent destruction during such a violent shake. She now has the answers. After attending the 50-day on-thejob training provided by the Baliyo Ghar project in April 2017, Doma now knows how to build an earthquake-resistant house, as she has become a trained mason.
The construction sector had been a male domain until now. But, armed with the necessary skills, Doma can now be seen in the field working on building houses. She not only works as a mason but also leads other masons in the rebuilding process.
Despite being a skilled worker, Doma continues to fulfil dual responsibilities – at home and outside. When the Baliyo Ghar team reached her house in December 2017, Doma was busy rebuilding her own house, with assistance from four other masons – two of them trained.
Not only has Baliyo Ghar’s training program provided Doma the opportunity to own her living, it has also boosted her confidence. “I hardly used to speak to strangers before,” said Doma. “But, after taking part in the training, I have now learnt to speak.”
She is however compelled to take on chores apart from mason work. For example, she cooks for her co-workers involved in housing reconstruction.
“My mother and other members of my family are busy harvesting millet,” Doma said. “So, I have to both cook for everyone and work at the site too.”
Doma and her family had no idea about rebuilding an earthquake-resistant house, forcing them to live in a makeshift shelter for two years. “We could not rebuild our house due to lack of proper knowledge,” she said. “I took the initiative to rebuild it after receiving the on-the-job training.”
The training provided in April 2017 developed six new masons in Khartal and now they all are contributing in their own ways to rebuilding the village.
Doma’s mother Chyangbuti Sherpa, 52, is proud to have found a trained mason at home. “We did not dare to start rebuilding our house, as we did not have any idea about earthquake-resistant houses,” she said. “But after the training and with our own daughter as a trained mason, we gained the confidence to rebuild our house.”