While watching a televised report on the Nepal Earthquake, CHOICE’s attention was drawn to a story on the Whistle Man from Luvu, Lalitpur. Luvu is a very ancient (about 3300 years old) Newari settlement that was severely damaged by the 7.8 earthquake on April 25th and the numerous aftershocks that followed.
Kiran Shrestha is a musician and plays guitar for underprivileged children; as a resident of Luvu he considered himself privileged before the earthquake hit Luvu and destroyed about 700 houses. He is known as the whistle man because he takes the whistle around the area blowing it to alert people of danger.
Kiran’s story caught CHOICE’s attention as he followed, on his own accord, the CHOICE Leadership Model of village self-development in providing relief and reconstruction of his neighborhood. Not waiting for the government, army or NGOs to come to his part of town, he organized a group of volunteers from 53 households in his neighborhood, printed green shirts for every one of them. The shirts have a slogan written on the chest, “DESHLAI MAYA GARAUN; PUNANIRMAN MA LAGAUN” – Let us love our country and devote ourselves to reconstruction.”
CHOICE Nepal In-Country Director, Bishnu Adhikari was so impressed with this natural leader because we understand how important it is to have local leaders. Though we have never worked in Luvu, Kiran took the lead and organized local villagers.
CHOICE Nepal decided to assist this self-motivated effort and joined the army of volunteers wearing green shirts in demolishing the earthquake destroyed houses, as these houses have become a threat to those walking in the alleys in the neighborhood. The collective team demolished 53 houses. It was dusty and dangerous work. However, everyone participates, including men and women from the area. Nepal Hope decided to join the effort with its more than 15 volunteers. Volunteers from Nepal Hope are young students and very energetic and committed.
…In villages in Lamjumg where we have trained the CHOICE Leadership Model, the response to the April #NepalEarthquake was faster, more organized, and people were more caring to each other. In comparison to areas we have never been to.