23/10/2015 13:52 BST | Updated 23/10/2016 06:12 BST

Six Months On: Joy of Nepal Quake Mother Shreya


The last time I saw Shreya we were in an earthquake survivors camp in Chapagaun, Nepal. She was eight months pregnant, living in a tent with nearly 200 people and very afraid.

Shreya was afraid of the aftershocks still shaking her community, terrified to return to her quake-struck home and extremely worried about her unborn baby.

"There are so many people sleeping in this tent that at night people accidentally roll over and kick me in the stomach", she told me. "And I'm feeling so weak and unhealthy. I'm starting to get a fever. What if this affects my baby?'


Heavily pregnant Shreya in the tent she shared with 200 people

Shreya told me that the earthquake shook her so hard her baby moved to the wrong position and for a time stopped moving altogether.

I remember her last words to me vividly: "What if something has happened to my baby or I face problems during delivery?"

I've thought of Shreya often in the last six months, so I was overjoyed this week when I received an update on Shreya and her gorgeous baby girl, Sushreya.

Gone is the worried, drawn face I remember and in its place a beaming smile and sparkling eyes. New mum Shreya is a picture of good health and baby Sushreya is, much to everyone's relief, healthy and happy.


I'm proud that Shreya is just one person ActionAid has helped get back on their feet. After providing her community with emergency food and clean water, we built a women's centre where she and other mothers could rest, wash with dignity and use a clean toilet.

After that Shreya and her husband were one of 5,000 families we helped with temporary accommodation. It was a full five months before she returned home after her house was finally deemed safe by government inspectors.


Shreya stands by the wreckage of her home in April

ActionAid tracked many of the people we helped during the Nepal earthquake. Read more inspiring stories of recovery and hope in ActionAid's before and after photo slideshow.

It's encouraging to witness so many stories of triumph against the odds, but there's still a long way to go in Nepal. As winter sets in, people still living in temporary shelters will need help to stay warm and as the earthquake affected this year's harvest, food will be in short supply.

The earthquake is also having longer term impacts, especially on women. In rural Nepal, damage to kitchens, food storage and the loss of tools is making the household tasks that traditionally fall to women even harder. Plus with schools damaged or closed, it's women taking on the responsibility for additional child care and educating children from home.

The devastating impact of the earthquake on the economy and hence employment also means many men are migrating overseas, leaving behind an increasing number of women headed households having to look after families alone.

Add to this the current political crisis and recent fuel shortage and it's clear there are challenges are ahead.

Shreya however, like many Nepalese people, is optimistic about the future. Holding baby Shushreya in her arms she proudly announces "We have big dreams for our baby. My husband wants her to be a nurse. But mostly we just want her to be healthy and happy".

I hope with all my heart Shreya gets her wish.