3 Years on: Nepal's female masons dig deep to lay foundations for change and renewal
Published     26 April, 2018


This time last year Phulsani Tamang was living in a makeshift temporary shelter on the terraced slopes of eastern Nepal.

Her home had been destroyed by the 2015 earthquake, which claimed close to 9,000 lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

When disaster struck, Phulsani’s husband was working in Saudi Arabia and the other men in her village were too busy rebuilding their own homes to help.

“At that time, it was hard to even find someone to build a cowshed … it was so frustrating,” she says.

So Phulsani decided to build a house herself.

She and nine other women in Baluwapati, a village a few hours’ drive outside the capital, Kathmandu, signed up for a training course to become stonemasons. In deeply traditional rural Nepal, this was a radical step, and the reaction from the men in the village was predictable.

“They said, ‘You are women so you can’t do it and you shouldn’t be doing it,’” says Phulsani.

But 12 months on, with eight houses under her belt, things have changed. “Now the men walk by quietly when they see us working. They don’t dare to make negative comments.”

Read the full article here at The Guardian