Giving Chepang children in Nepal a better future
Who are the Chepang?
The Chepang are an indigenous group in Nepal who are most neglected by society. They live in isolated communities with no road access in the Chitwan Mountains. Their land is difficult to cultivate, so collecting wild food is essential for survival. 90% of the Chepang live below the poverty line of USD 1 per day and the literacy rate among Chepang children is only 15%. Another factor is that currently 10% of Chepang girls have already given birth by the age of 16. The vicious cycle of poverty, a large number of children, malnutrition, lack of education, unemployment and poor health is difficult to break.
Education project: the Chepang Hostel
An education project is helping Chepang children in Chitwan. The Chepang Hostel near Bharatpur in Chitwan was established with the financial support of several Nepalis living at home and abroad. It is in the immediate vicinity of a public school and offers the children free accommodation and meals and provides school clothing and school equipment. Together with Brepal e.V., the Hahn Air Foundation is committed to improving the living conditions in the hostel and the education of the children.
The Chepang Hostel currently accommodates 170 girls and boys from the surrounding Chepang settlements. This is a great relief for the parents who, mostly far away, struggle every day to feed their families. Due to the limited living space, only one child per family can be accommodated. Places are allocated according to learning potential and regardless of gender.
Although the hostel means that the children are separated from their parents, they receive safe accommodation, food and clothing. The state elementary school is easily accessible as it is situated directly opposite the hostel. Students attending the secondary school walk or bike there. At home in Chitwan, children can only go to school after walking for hours without breakfast.
Donations make a difference
The hostel is financed by donations. Unfortunately, these have decreased due to the Corona crisis. First, the essential expenses are budgeted (food, clothing, school supplies, etc.). There is little budget left to improve the living conditions or to invest in special trainings. This is where the support of the Hahn Air Foundation comes in. For example, one goal is to improve the sanitary facilities and to initiate special training programmes.