Shattering Rocks, Building Hope

by | Jul 10, 2023 | News

An unusual sight can be found in the remote municipality of Dharan, nestled amidst the rolling green hills of Eastern Nepal. Sister Aisha Kavalakattu, a nun known for her commitment to social service, has taken up the hard labor of breaking stones.

She labors alongside the local residents under the scorching Nepalese sun. The stones they break will be used as the raw material for the next phase of a life-changing project—building a water tank. This tank will collect water from the hilltops, which will then be distributed to the various parts of Dharan through a network of large black pipes.

Led by the head of the municipality, this initiative has brought together a diverse group of individuals, each contributing their skills and time free of charge. The progress thus far is encouraging—water has already begun reaching different areas through the pipes, a significant achievement in an area where access to clean water is a pressing issue.

Sister Aisha is no stranger to such endeavors. For years, she has been at the forefront of similar projects, helping to bring water from the river to every household in the region. These ventures have required countless meetings with villagers, government officials, and various local entities. Sister Aisha has been instrumental in these interactions, bridging the gap between different stakeholders and facilitating effective collaboration.

Past initiatives involved the construction of infiltration galleries and gabion walls to protect them. Sister Aisha and her team also undertook extensive road maintenance and construction to transport the necessary materials for the tanks.

Furthermore, three tanks were constructed under Sister Aisha’s watchful eye, and nearly 50 electric poles and three transformers were installed in collaboration with the Electricity Authority. As the pandemic swept across the globe in 2020, delaying many such projects, Sister Aisha and her team took to the front lines. They were granted special permission from the government to continue their work, a testament to the project’s essential nature.

Sister Aisha’s efforts go beyond merely providing clean water. She seeks to foster a sense of ownership among the locals. Every household consuming water from these projects will have a meter installed, and a nominal fee will be collected for the service. The accumulated funds will go toward maintaining and operating the projects long after Sister Aisha and her team have moved on.

Despite the ongoing global crisis, Sister Aisha remains optimistic. As she chips away at the rocks under the Nepalese sun, her vision of a better future for Dharan’s residents shines even brighter. As she succinctly puts it, her mission is about “becoming the voice of the voiceless and helping the helpless to help themselves.”