Nepal is a landlocked and largely undeveloped country nestled in the heart of the majestic Himalayan Mountains, with China to the north and India to the south. It is currently struggling with abject poverty, political upheaval, economic uncertainty and gender inequality. Children there find themselves orphaned due to disease, natural disasters, and lack of access to proper medical facilities. On the other hand, Nepal has an astonishing diversity of geography and richness of culture for such a small country. All on the same day, one can brush against the world’s highest peaks on a mountain flight, explore the World Heritage Site temples and ride through grasslands and jungles atop an elephant.
Nepal is 885 km (533 miles) long and 90-220 km (60-137 miles) wide with a total area of 147,181 sq. km. Here you find the eight highest mountains of the world, including the world famous Mt. Everest (29,028 ft.). Entirely mountainous except for the narrow strip of low-lying plains known as the Terai, Nepal’s climate ranges from the tropical heat of the Terai to alpine, arctic and even Mediterranean.
Nepalese culture is a tossed salad of mountain peoples and customs, blending Indo, Aryan, Tibeto-Burmese and Mongolian elements in a colorful ethnic mix. It continues to grapple with keeping its heritage architecture, art and culture intact in the face of unbridled development.
The economic structure of the Nepalese economy is mixed, with agriculture as the backbone. Eighty percent of the country’s total production is dependent on the agriculture sector, which contributes more than 40% to Nepal’s GDP. While Nepal has some of the most fertile land in the world, this land makes up only 17% of Nepal’s total area. The gross domestic product of Nepal fluctuates between 2 to 3.9 %. The average per capita income is US $620.
While many children here live in poverty, they are much more fortunate than the orphans and homeless children who live on the streets. A UN report states that there are over 5000 orphans in Nepal. In the most recent CWIN (Child Welfare In Nepal) report it is noted that more than 3000 children have been displaced and over 1500 orphaned due to the violent political conflict in this country. The current political situation has made everyday life a struggle; prices have risen from countrywide blockades; tourism is down; and many young adults have fled the country or been injured or killed as a result of the political tensions. The orphans and street children of Nepal, marginalized by society, are vulnerable to various abuses such as being bought into indentured servitude, sold into the sex trade industry, etc. More often than not, they are also introduced to the street life culture of drugs and crime.
There are few government programs or social safety nets that deal with the orphans’ issues. Little is done at the municipal level to ensure the safety of these children. The solution for these children, as we see it, is to place them in a home-style orphanage where they can benefit from safety, love, good health and education, and can grow up to become capable citizens. One long-term goal of Namaste Community Foundation is to effect economic changes by means of raising up qualified and well-informed men and women.
Geographical Information: Nepal, a sovereign Independent Kingdom, lies between 80 degree 12′ east longitude and 26 degree 22′ and 30 degree 27′ north latitude. It is bordered on the north by the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China; on the east by Sikkim and West Bengal of the Indian Union; on the south by the Indian States of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and on the west by Uttar Pradesh of the Indian Union. The breadth of the Kingdom is 885 kilometers east-west and its length varies from 145 to 241 kilometers north-south. Climatically, it lies in the temperate zone with the added advantage of altitude.