Heading North
Heading North

“It was a tough week of walking,” said Mark Galpin, UMN’s Executive Director, “but tremendously worthwhile.”

Mark loves to get out and about; visiting clusters, meeting partners, talking with local villagers; these kinds of visits make the desk-based work in Kathmandu worthwhile. Along with several staff from Dhading Cluster, Mark spent last week in Lapa and Jharlang VDCs in the far north of Dhading District.

“What really strikes you is how Christian this area of Nepal is,” commented Mark. “Just about every village has its little local church, and many churches are very active in their communities. But the needs are still so great!”

The Sikai Chautari (“Learning Place”) groups were particularly impressive. Villagers gather three times a week for two hours, working their way through a curriculum that includes family planning, nutrition, income generation, care for the environment, agriculture and many other topics. They also spend time discussing specific issues in their community, and planning how to address them. They have run literacy classes, organised monthly clean-up campaigns in their villages, constructed or repaired walking paths, and done many other small but very useful projects, all with their own resources.

Keeping girls in school is a really important way of building a strong future, and reducing the risk of trafficking. Mark met Nirmala and Dhani Maya, who are both receiving UMN scholarships. At just NRP 2000 (USD 23) per term, this tiny investment pays for school clothes and books, and is life-changing for these young women, both from single parent households.

“I’m so impressed by the commitment and hard work of people in these villages,” said Mark. “Knowing the changes they are achieving is a great encouragement.”

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