Purna Maya has celebral palsy and is dependent on her father Maila. When the earthquake struck Nepal Pruna was inside their mud house which collapsed on her. She was buried under debris but Maila managed to pull her out of the bricks. For seven full days they had to live out in the open and battle cold nights and occasional rains until they finally received help.
Purna Maya lived with her father, Maila, in a mud house in Kavresthali village, situated about three kilometres from capital Kathmandu. She has cerebral palsy, for which she has never received any treatment, and has also affected her ability to communicate easily. She is very dependent on her father. Some years ago, a local Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO) provided her a wheelchair.
On April 25th, out of approximately 1400 houses, about 400 mud houses collapsed in Kavresthali, one of which has been Purna Maya’s home for the last 36 years. However, as relief work intensifies across Nepal, a village so close to Kathmandu is still off the radar of both government and other international charities. For one full week, Purna Maya and her father had to live on the open and battle cold nights and occasional rains.
Below is an excerpt from a conversation with Maila about what happened to Purna Maya during the recent earthquake.
Could you share what happened when the earthquake hit on April 25th?
That day Purna Maya was inside the house on her wheelchair and I was just walking outside on the street after having my lunch. Suddenly, the ground began to shake violently... Even before I could think of going inside the house and save my daughter, the house collapsed into rubble. I kept looking for Purna Maya but couldn’t find her anywhere… Later, when the shaking stopped, I rushed to search for her and found she was buried under a heap of bricks and the wheelchair lay by her side. She was unconscious for a while. An hour later, she regained consciousness. I was glad though the house was gone, my daughter was alive…
Did she suffer any injury? How has the earthquake affected her?
Yes, she had some bruises on her neck and back. But we had no time to treat her. There were continuous aftershocks that day. In the night, we slept in an open field close to the house so that we could keep an eye on what was left in the rubble. Throughout that night Purna Maya was shivering and had difficulty sitting steady on the wheelchair. But on the next day, she saw the other broken houses in the community and gradually became strong…
How did you get in touch with NFDN? How have they helped you?
On Friday, a volunteer came to our house to ask about Purna Maya and the loss due to the earthquake. He said he had received an SMS on his mobile from NFDN asking about the situation of persons with disabilities. I was happy that some organization had the time to think about disabled people like my daughter. It really meant a lot… I also told the volunteer to provide us some tarpaulin sheets immediately, as we were sleeping under the open sky... Today they provided us a tarpaulin sheet.