House and Meeting Place
House and Meeting Place
The Chepang people of southern Dhading have been landless forest-dwellers for generations. Over the last few years, the government has tried to encourage the Chepangs to settle in villages, so that they can better access services, like education and health. The government provided land, and Chepang Samaj (a Chepang service organisation) helped them build houses.
UMN’s Child-Centred Community Development Project has been working in Chepang communities in Mahadevsthan for about five years, facilitating women’s groups, improving educational provisions, developing income generation opportunities. “Child partners” are identified from various families to represent the community; as the project progresses, we can see how the changes impact on children’s lives by monitoring these children.
Ramita Chepang is a child partner from Simthali village. She is in Class 2, and lives in an extended family headed by her uncle Chandra Bahadur Chepang and his wife. There are 12 people altogether in the household. 
When Chandra Bahadur’s house fell down during the earthquake, the community also lost its Christian meeting place. The nearest church is a long walk away (Ramita’s uncle and father were at church when the earthquake happened) but they used to hold a fellowship and prayer meeting at their house on Fridays. Chandra Bahadur is not sure how they will be able to continue this. There certainly isn’t room for the seven Christian families to meet under the tarpaulins and tin sheets that now make up their home. Chandra Bahadur is also worried about his debt. He borrowed NRP 50,000 (USD 500) to have an extra balcony put on his house, and will still have to pay that back. Oddly enough, the balcony is still standing, although the house isn’t! 
Meanwhile, like many children in Dhading, Ramita is not going to school. Fortunately, her school was not badly damaged, but schools are closed at least until the end of May. At least her family has received a good supply of food, both from UMN and from another church in Nepal.

Their temporary shelter. Certainly no room their their Christian fellowship to meet here.

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