The Chitwan District part of the central south Naryani Zone in Nepal, has been chosen as the new area to receive NCEF’s attention by the New Area Committee’s approval. Mr. Ram Prasad Sharma will be the area coordinator and he will be assisted by 5 volunteers. Specifically Chandivanjyang VDC, Kalikhola in Chitwan is the target area for Mr. Sharma’s effort.
Chandivanjyang, Kalikhola is a rural area just off of the Naryangarh-Muglin Highway. This community is only reachable by foot from the highway in 1.5 hours. The site is actually in the Mahabharata range and is severely isolated from rest of Nepal as there is no electricity, no phone service and the only post-office is 30km away. Thus, the overall infrastructure is very primitive or non-existence due to the topography of the region and exacerbated by the history and culture of the inhabitants.
The Chepangs inhabit majority of this area and are one of the least developed community in Nepal. To give some perspective to people unfamiliar with this group of people, they are often compared to the Amis group in the U.S, where the Chepangs have followed their own path apart from the majority of the Nepalese. Historically they were nomadic tribe, predominantly hunters, and today not much has changed as they still live in tribes and follow their rich cultures.
However, their subsistence is mainly based on some agriculture, wood gathering and hunting, which has contributed to their economic regression and underdevelopment. Today only few percentage of the Chepang population is literate because they tend to resist schooling their children. Only 30-40% of the children go to school and of those more than 60% end up dropping out before graduating. Various issue play hand to this alarming rate of illiteracy with economic hardship being the primary cause. When the children become older, they are often used as source of income by the household thus conflicting with their education. Since most of the parents are also illiterate, the importance of education for them is as elusive as their next meal. Not to mention that only one public secondary school is established at the foot hills, an estimate hour journey. Transportation and communication issue repeatedly hinder progress in this region, and as a result a whole generation of Chepangs fall victim to illiteracy and economic hardship.
With Mr. Sharma’s help we have decided to allocate a portion of our resources in helping this impoverished community. The estimated cost for one child including uniform, books, and other necessary stationary items is $65. Of the total population of Chepangs in Nepal about 42% reside in Kalikhola making this community an important area to focus NCEF’s resources. The children educated from this community could permanently change the course of the Chepangs future and push development of all Chepang society in Nepal.
Mr. Sharma is a dedicated school teacher and will surely be a trusting and responsible individual that will utilize NCEF’s resources to produce an effective result within this area, and we wish him best of luck.
Video of the award ceremony for the
scholarship recipients in Chitwan.