After being rattled by an earthquake, a tailor strives to stitch things back together

Earthquake evacuee Dechoe is pleased to have her dress shop up and running again.

Together with more than 1,600 people from 514 families, the 41-year-old was relocated to a settlement community in Xigaze, the Tibet autonomous region, after a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck the area on April 25, 2015.

The quake severely damaged her home, in the Dram township of Tibet's Nyalam county, and shuttered her successful business, which had flourished thanks to the border town being a port of entry to neighboring Nepal.

Following her relocation to the new settlement two years ago, she was provided with a store in Xigaze's Dram Shopping Mall by the local government.

Her store mainly sold Nepalese clothes. The business was not as good as it had been. For a long time, she dreamed of expanding by adding custom clothing, but the paperwork was always an issue.

Then, one month ago, she was able to register a new company with the help of the local government, found a new location and employed four Nepali seamstresses.

"It's difficult to employ foreign employees because of the complicated application process," she said.

"But with the help from the government, I was able to do it."

Dechoe lives in the Dram New Residential Community in Xigaze, a few minutes walk from her new shop.

She makes approximately 40,000 yuan ($5,800) a month, and said her clients like the Nepali designs and materials she uses.

Her employees are provided with food and accommodation, and each receives an average salary of 4,000 yuan per month.

"When my tailor shop was in the Dram Shopping Mall, business was not so good, but now with a new location and more employees, my business shows signs of revival," she said.

"The government has put in a lot of effort to help us, but I do not always want to rely on its support, I want to stand on my own."

The clothes Dechoe produces include Nepalese robes, suits, T-shirts, pants, and Tibetan robes. Her clientele are generally wealthy and the prices she charges are relatively high.

In the future, the tailor hopes to help some of her relocated fellow villagers who are experiencing economic difficulties.

Every family relocated from Dram was provided with a house of an appropriate size and each evacuee receives 25 yuan per day. Anyone over the age of 18 received an additional 1,500 yuan in subsidies last year, which has been raised to 2,500 yuan this year.

Dobla, Party chief of Dram township, said the government has not yet made a decision on when the evacuees will be able to return home.

"Before relocating to Xigaze, many residents were involved in the border trade because of the Dram Port and, thanks to preferential policies, these traders enjoyed a tax exemption of up to 6,000 yuan per day, but they no longer have that," said the 45-year-old.

"However, the community enjoys a number of public services including a kindergarten, a hospital, a post office, a bank, shops, restaurants, and government offices. A primary school and middle schools are also not far from where they live."

Dobla said more than 200 of the evacuees are now involved in various businesses in Xigaze, including restaurants, shops and outlets in the Dram Shopping Mall selling Nepalese, Indian, and foreign products.

All the evacuee families have been provided with new houses, equipped with bedding, carpets, tables, kitchenware, and TVs by the government.

"All religious rituals are preserved and practiced in the settlement community. A big hall has been built for them to practice rituals and perform other activities, such as weddings and memorial services," Dobla added.