UNICEF envoy inspects post-flood works

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Says Kudumbashree women masons’ efforts must reach more people

Yasmin Ali Haque, representative of UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) in India, listened intently as 23 women trained in masonry under the Kudumbashree Mission shared their experience of constructing in Thiruvalla their first disaster-resilient house.

Ms. Haque, a native of Bangladesh, was in Pathanamthitta to inspect the progress of the post-flood reconstruction initiatives. The women said it took 52 days for them to complete the house at Chumathara, in the place of a house destroyed in the floods of August last.

They told Ms. Haque that four more houses were being built in Pathanamthitta district under the Kudumbashree initiative and new orders were in the pipeline. “We have done all the work of the first house, except roof concreting. Service of a professional supervisor was used for the first project. We can meet the rest of the orders on our own,” said Mayamma, a newly trained mason.

25 collectives

Kudumbashree is now floating 25 women mason collectives across Pathanamthitta and all are being trained in disaster-resilient construction, said Ajit Chacko, Chief Operating Officer, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Kudumbashree.

Shelter Hub, floated by the UNDP and the Thiruvananthapuram-based Habitat Technology Group, is training the women in disaster-resilient construction.

The initiative will be replicated in Wayanad and Idukki.

Impressed by the initiative, Ms. Haque said there should be a wider outreach with campaigns targeting beneficiaries of house construction projects.

At the Thottappuzhassery grama panchayat office near Kozhencherry, Ms. Haque attended a review meeting on the recently launched Janakeeya Pankalithavum Punarnirmanavum initiative of the Kudumbashree in districts worst affected by the floods.

She said the rebuilding initiative would equip Kerala to resist future disasters.

Panchayat members told her that the flood victims were seeking better and safe rehabilitation.

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