Traveling to the Far west of Nepal
Traveling to the Far west of Nepal

Traveling to the Far west of Nepal is always an arduous trip – but for me was well worth the hours spent getting there.  I was struck once again, as I often am when I visit our working areas, of the commitment of our staff, the dedication of our partners, the huge needs of the areas we are working in, and the transformative impact on individuals and communities lives that our work with our partners is having.

We visited the Lekhgaun village in Bajhang – one of the areas most affected by the conflict. UMN’s partner, the Dalit Help Society has been working in this area for the last two years or so, encouraging vegetable production, reducing alcohol consumption and fostering peace, including working with those affected by the conflict to restore their livelihoods. The quality of their work was excellent, and yet what struck me most was the deeper significance of who they were and what they were doing.

In this area Dalits (lower caste) have been oppressed for centuries and local traditional beliefs are still deeply held. However here was an organisation set up and led by dalits, but serving the community as a whole – including higher caste people who had discriminated against them for so long. As a result caste barriers were beginning to break down and relationships were improving between the caste groups. This was the deeper impact of their work – and a wonderful example of the restoration of relationships so central to transformation.

-Mark Galpin

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