Unexpected Call

How would you react if an unknown group of people came searching for you, only to let you know that you are getting some grant to buy a piece of land and build a house?

This is a real story from Icchyakamana Gaupalika in Chitwan district. The Durable Solutions (DS) team was searching for a 17-year-old boy called Rabin Chepang, when the ward president Pancha Bahadur Praja informed them that out of 11 Category 3 households in Icchyakamana Gaupalika, only one of them has not received any government benefits yet. Incidentally, this was Rabin’s household.

Rabin Chepang ran away from his house after his grandfather’s demise, and because he had never received much love and care from his late father who had been abusive when drunk and inattentive when sober. Because of this unhealthy environment and abusive relationship, her mother also left the family and settled with some other man elsewhere. Five years ago, Rabin ran away from his house and started working at a poultry farm in the Gorkha district. He would sometimes visit his home village but, because he would not be in contact with many people, it was difficult to locate his whereabouts.

The DS team went around searching for the boy, visited different farms but, unfortunately, was not able to find him. Several days later, one of Rabin’s relatives gave the team his phone number. Many calls were made with no answer on the receiving end. Despairingly, the team was about to return back to Kathmandu when, suddenly, the phone rang. It was Rabin, the same boy they had been searching for so long.

The DS team confirmed his location and visited him. Together with the Ward Chairperson, the team took Rabin to the Rural Municipality Office and gave him orientation about the land and housing grants. Naturally, he was unaware of all the benefits he was entitled to receive. Rabin’s house was damaged during the earthquake and their settlement has been in a high risk of landslide. NRA also informed Rabin that his father Kancha Chepang should be the real beneficiary of government’s assistance and that Rabin is not on the beneficiary list. However, together with the Gaupalika staff and the Ward Chairman, the DS team was able to agree with the local NRA representative to transfer the grant benefits over to Rabin, as he was the actual head of the household.

The DS team then gave Rabin further orientation on the land acquisition process and liaised with the Ward Chairperson to ensure Rabin have his birth certificate, citizenship card and the death certificate of his father. At the end, Rabin was extremely happy and grateful that the DS team found him and that he can now receive all the benefits. The Ward Chairperson also praised the DS team for all the efforts in finding the lost boy who had been out of touch for years. Rabin is now a chapter in his life, going through the grant acquisition process to start building his new house in a safe place soon.

Author: Upahar Chamling Rai/People in Need

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