Lal Dhoj Lama, age 49, migrated from Sindhuli to Kathmandu nearly 16 years ago with his wife and children. After losing his land and having no food to feed his family, Lama had no choice but to migrate to the city. Like many other villagers from his home town, he believed the urban life would provide opportunity to support his family. They walked for 2 days from Sindhuli to the nearest highway where he was able to find a ride to the city.
In Kathmandu, Lama found that it was difficult to support his family. Rent was high and he was the only one that could find work. His wife was unskilled and was unable to contribute toward the family income. As an informal worker, Lama's income was low and spent a long time in search of an house with affordable rent. After few months he came to know about a place called Bansighat, a squatter settlement at the bank of Bagmati River. He soon moved to Bansighat with his family where rent was not such a burden. There he could save money to educate his children and support the whole family.
16 years later, Lal Dhoj Lama is one of the committee members and community leaders of Bansighat. His elder son has completed his high school and has been working. His daughter is a student in 12th grade and she is focusing on her education. Lama and his coworkers from the community have been constantly striving for the betterment of Bansighat. Working together, they have constructed drainage and managed electricity for the houses so that they could live a more healthy, safe, and comfortable life. Government and other organizations have provided occasional assistance with education, but sanitation in the community remains a big problem. Still, Lama understands how important Banshigat was to his successful integration to urban life, and he wants to make the community better for those families struggling to survive just as he did so many years ago.
“I don’t have anything left back at Sindhuli, therefore I have never thought of returning. For me Bansighat is my home and the development of this place means a lot to me”, Lal Dhoj Lama said. Despite the ongoing social, economic, and environmental issues, Lama is attached with Bansighat where he has built a strong network of friends and family. Lama acknowledged that while some aspects of the community have improved, he will continue to act as a leader, fighting for improvements within the settlement. Most of all, he hopes for a better management from government side at Bansighat so that other people like himslf can come to the city to provide better life for their families.
“I believe being a Nepali citizen we have some rights of having a legal house, food and education for all.” Remember, you are writing to people who may not be familiar with Nepal, so you have to explain things very simply. I added this part. Maybe it is not accurate. Can you let me know if this is okay to say?
- Uzabi Baidar