Since our visit in October, a number of things have been implemented or initiated in the community.
Education and nutrition project at Shree Praja Jyoti Primary School
In order to operate cost-effectively, a competition was organised among local food suppliers with the aim of purchasing high-quality food at the lowest possible price. The right supplier was found and, thanks to the cost savings, the budget is now sufficient to provide the children with an additional egg three Fridays a month and meat once a month.
Project to secure livelihoods
58 members of the first four “goat breeding groups” took part in the training course on commercial goat breeding in December. The participants (10 men, 48 women) were trained by a local livestock development expert on the requirements for goat farming. Topics included animal behaviour, husbandry, feeding, diseases, etc.
A committee of five people was formed from this group. This committee is available to the members of the group for questions relating to goat husbandry, insurance issues and help with the construction of the goat shed.
Before the goats are distributed to the families, the stables must first be repaired or newly built. Quotations were requested for the necessary materials. Once the necessary letter of request has been received from the district office, work can begin.
A project management and monitoring committee was also set up under the leadership of the district chairman. One member from each breeder group, representatives of the Tara Namaste Foundation and the veterinarian also form this committee. This committee will decide on the implementation of the project and will meet every four to six months. At the end of the project period defined by Tara Namaste (3 years in total), this committee will ensure the continuation of the project.
The impact of the project will be evaluated at the end of the project. Seven households from each of the four groups with goats and seven households with chickens were randomly selected for the study in the community. The current status of 28 households has already been surveyed and is now being analysed.
Good networking and liaising with the local authorities is essential. The project has therefore been presented to various representatives of the authorities. We can count on the support of all local authorities.
Various goat farms are currently being visited to find healthy animals. Once the housing for the animals has been completed (February/March), the first goats will be allowed to move in with the families.
The women of the Chepangs are basically equal to the men.
They would like to contribute to the family income, but there is a lack of opportunities in this region. The Tara Namaste Foundation wants to enable them to earn extra income by doing handicrafts at home. This way they do not have to leave the children alone. The women are trained and the necessary tools are provided. We started with macramé work. We have made a start. During our last visit, 18 women learnt to crochet in a week of training. They have already made some attractive potholders and nets, which they will be able to make to order over the next few months. The women are eager and happy to participate, eager to learn new things and happy to earn extra income. We want to look for further opportunities in the future and realise them with them.
Health and hygiene
The families affected by poverty lack the means to buy soap or other hygiene products. The small medical practice financed by the community is equipped with additional hygiene articles not financed by the government. This gives the doctor the opportunity to teach the population basic hygiene measures for health care and to hand out hygiene products.
After a number of lengthy administrative procedures and the preparation of a detailed project plan and all the necessary paperwork, our community project is well on the way to being realised.
The application to the Social Welfare Council has been submitted – now we have to wait for approval. This should arrive at the end of November/beginning of December. Our goal:
The project will support 130 households in Chepang in coordination with the local rural community in order to improve the economic situation of the community by promoting livestock farming (goats and chickens), building stables for the animals and training community members in appropriate animal husbandry.
Pictures: First orientation of the population in April 2023
In concrete terms, this means:
130 selected households will be divided into 9 groups (3 groups for the first year, 4 groups for the second year and 2 groups for the third year). Of the 3 groups in 2023, 2 groups will breed goats and the remaining 1 group will look after chickens. The groups that receive goats are instructed to give one offspring (a kid) of their goats from each participating household to the next group in the following year, and from this second year goat, the kid must be passed on to the last year’s groups. The group taking care of the chickens is not obliged to do so, as only one group is selected for the chickens in the first year. This will be realised together with the local authorities, the livestock owners will be trained by the veterinary service and the municipality will keep a watchful eye on the livestock owners at the beginning. They will sign a declaration of consent.
Each family will receive a female goat (a healthy breed with high fertility) for rearing.
goat rearing. One billy goat per group will be cared for in a selected family – the vet will also carry out regular checks. Before the animals are delivered, the future animal owners will provide suitable accommodation for the animals with our support.
Training sessions for the future animal owners and the creation or adaptation of the animal accommodation are planned for November and December. First delivery of animals in February 2024. The project will be continuously supported and monitored by our staff in Nepal. Refresher trainings are planned. After two years and 9 months, an evaluation will take place and the results and benefits for the population will be analysed.
The Shree Praja Jyoti Primary School is a government-supported primary school that was founded in 1991 as part of the Nepalese government’s education strategy. The school is located in Gandaki Village-7, Ghyalchowk Beltar Gorkha, Province No. 4, on the banks of the River Trishuli. This stunning river flows between Dhading and the Gorkha district and is world-renowned for rafting. It takes two and a half hours (90 kilometres) to travel from Kathmandu to Majhimtar Dhading to the school, taking the Prithivi motorway followed by a 30-minute hike up the mountain. The school has 65 pupils, 29 girls and 36 boys, from the Chepang (a marginalised community of people from the local area). They represent the third year of early childhood development (ECD).
The Chepang are an indigenous Tibeto-Burmese community inhabiting the ridges of the Mahabharat mountain range in central Nepal. The reserved, nomadic Chepang have taken a more open approach over the past two or three generations, and are now semi-nomadic. They normally live in caves or thatched huts and are dependent on the increasingly limited production of crops such as maize, millet and bananas, as well as fishing.
Poverty, insufficient education and a lack of medical facilities mean that the Chepang are often poorly educated, and this is particularly the case for children, older people and women. Children are greatly disadvantaged and often suffer from malnutrition, pneumonia, diarrhoea, typhoid, etc. Dysmenorrhea and uterine bleeding are similarly common among women, caused by child marriages, inadequate nutrition and unhygienic living conditions. The Chepang are one of the most at-risk communities in Nepal and are towards the bottom of the Human Development Index (HDI).
Tara Namaste’s objective is to enable Chepang children to attend primary school and then subsequently access further education.
While 65 Chepang pupils are registered at the Shree Praja Jyoti Primary School, children frequently fail to attend school and skip class. The main reason for this? Poverty. Children often need to take up work to supplement their family’s income or they need to look after younger siblings while their parents are at work. Children need to be supported to ensure they can attend school on a regular basis: this is the only way for them to complete their basic education and then attend secondary schools.
‘Children’s sporadic attendance at school is primarily down to poverty. If we can offer support in the form of food, learning materials and clothes, they will attend school on a regular basis,’ says Ms Nirmala Aryal Regmi, the school’s headteacher.
Actions to help:
Assistance with food – distributing lunches
Food is the cornerstone of human survival. People living below the poverty line will always need to fight for their food, so it’s a huge help if food is provided for them. As part of this aid programme, pupils receive a nutritious lunch. For their parents, it’s one more reason to send their child to school, and the food programme also motivates children to attend school regularly. As a result, malnutrition is reduced, performance at school is improved, and truancy is minimised.
Distributing school resources: educational assistance
This aid programme provides children with school resources like textbooks, rucksacks, notepads, pencils, erasers, sharpeners and chalk. On the one hand, these resources are a great help in and of themselves, and on the other, they motivate children to attend school regularly.
Distributing uniforms: clothes and shoes
Children are unable to attend school because their parents are experiencing financial difficulties and cannot afford school supplies. The financial burden borne by children’s parents or guardians is eased if they can be provided with their school uniforms, shoes and bags via the aid programme. However, this comes with the expectation that parents and guardians will send their children to school and encourage them to attend.
The Tara Namaste Foundation Nepal (TNF) is a non-partisan, apolitical, non-governmental charitable organisation registered with the regional government of Kathmandu. At present, this organisation is carrying out projects in the Gorkha and Jhapa districts, focusing on children’s health, education and the development of infrastructure for people below the poverty line. This programme has the financial backing of the Tara Namaste Foundation Liechtenstein.
The programme outlined above is also supported by the Tara Namaste Foundation Nepal in collaboration with Community Initiatives Nepal (CIN), a non-governmental organisation active in the healthcare, sanitation, environmental and education sectors and focused on supporting underprivileged people in urban and rural areas of Nepal.
Our programme outlined above improves Chepang families’ quality of life and enables their children to access education over the long term. The number of children in school will increase, improving the level of learning and education for increasing numbers of children, and the quality of nutrition will ultimately ensure that quality of life in a general sense is improved.
As in many other countries with high infection rates, the Nepalese government has imposed a national lockdown for a second time, closing the country’s borders and imposing a curfew. The first lockdown started on 25 March 2020 and lasted 54 days, while the second phase started on 26 April 2021 and ran until 28 June 2021.
As one of the poorest countries in the world, people in Nepal were particularly hard-hit, with the impact of this evident in every sector of the economy. As a country with a major tourism industry, however, the service sector was particularly badly affected: tourism, aviation, hospitality, retail.
‘We would never have thought that we’d be locked down at home, but we’re somehow getting by,’ says Ashesh Khanal. ‘People running small businesses, retailers, homeless people, older people, people living on their own, and day labourers are suffering from major financial difficulties. Lockdown has had a terrible impact on the social, health and economic situation in Nepal.
The government, national and international humanitarian organisations and private institutions are trying their best to get food and other basic supplies to people in need. Despite this, many people still do not have access to aid supplies and are living an extremely deprived life. These people need to be given food parcels so they can survive this critical period of the coronavirus pandemic.’
Ashesh Khanal is a member of the Tara Namaste Foundation Nepal’s board of trustees and is a coordinator of the food support programme.
Introduction of the Tara Namaste food support programme:
Brought into being under the motto of ‘from person to person, from one heart to another’, the Tara Namaste Foundation Nepal established the food support programme to give families in the Kathmandu Valley and neighbouring areas food packages containing what they need to survive.
The programme was launched on 9 June 2021 and is financed by the Tara Namaste Foundation Liechtenstein, as well as private individuals.
Local help, local knowledge
The Tara Namaste Foundation Nepal mobilised its network (social workers, associations, local activists, people active in the public sphere) on a local level so it could reach out to vulnerable families. This enabled it to attract a raft of volunteers to assist with distributing the parcels.
To date, it has offered support to 67 families, or 237 people, in the Kathmandu Valley and in the Ghyalchowk Gorkha region.
The food parcels are given to homeless people, older people, single mothers with children, disabled people and domestic workers. They have all lost their sources of income as a result of Covid and are hardly able to purchase food.
Ashesh Khanal: ‘These food parcels are desperately needed to prevent people from starving to death. All the families are hugely grateful for this much-needed support.’
The Tara Namaste Foundation will be continuing the food support programme.
Food parcel for a family of four – one food parcel lasts a month:
1 sack of rice (25 kg)
2 kg lentils
2 l cooking oil
1 kg chickpeas
1 box of noodles (30 pack)
3 pieces of soap
1 kg of rice flakes
I will support a family with a food parcel
Donate to contribute to the Tara Namaste Food Support Programme. Thank you.
1 food parcel for 1 month: CHF 42.00
1 food parcel for 2 months: CHF 84.00
1 food parcel for 3 months: CHF 126.00
Headquarter: Tara Namaste Foundation c/o CSC Company Structure Consulting AG Landstrasse 63 FL-9490 Vaduz
Swiss branch: Tara Namaste Foundation Mühlebühlweg 25 CH-5616 Meisterschwanden
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