About Nepal

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, it has few natural resources and remains heavily dependent on agriculture and tourism for income. Its infrastructure is very poorly developed and, with few resources in a land-locked country, is heavily dependent on outside support, particularly from India. Elections in April 2008 led to the abolition of the centuries-old monarchy but a Maoist insurgency and subsequent civil strife has wrecked the economy and Nepal is dependent on aid; tourism is a key foreign exchange earner.

There are extensive and continuing political problems in Nepal which from time to time disrupt travel and infrastructure. Anti -government Maoist activity periodically blocks roads and has dampened enthusiasm for tourism, causing economic hardship in a country whose principle asset is the Himalayan Mountain Range. The schools in the project zone are not affected directly by Maoist activity, although transport of materials and personnel to the areas can sometimes be slowed. Reported corruption at national government level is a problem, although the charity supporting these three schools is able to circumvent these difficulties.

There is no health care system in Nepal and access to public services is very limited given the lack of general facilities and the geographical remoteness of many schools. Many children exhibit signs of poor health such as conjunctivitis, head lice and other symptoms associated with poor sanitation and nutrition. Hygiene standards are extremely basic.

The average income per capita in Nepal is c.$450 pa. In the villages this figure is often considerably less, equating to c.$1.25/day max and even this income can be very erratic. It is frequently necessary to support large families on this paltry amount.