Promoting equality for tribal people in Nepal
Two members of our team, Hannah and Sherona, recently visited Nepal to meet some of the families that we work with. On meeting a local women’s group in Baijapur, they asked if any of the women would be happy to share their story, to take back to Find Your Feet’s supporters in the UK. Mina’s hand shot straight up.
Mina is president of her local women’s group, based in a small, remote village in the Banke district of Nepal. She belongs to the Tharu tribal community – an ancient group that originates in the southern foothills of the Himalayas.
The Tharu people, along with other tribal communities, make up around 40% of the population. Yet as a group experience the highest prevalence of hunger and poverty in the country. This is partly due to where they live – in secluded regions of the Himalayan foothills – and partly due to cultural practises. Tribal people are often seen as outsiders, and as a result, have faced years of discrimination. Many tribal communities have been forced to leave the land they used for farming, whilst others have been denied access to essential services like free healthcare. Find Your Feet works within the Tharu community, enabling those who have experienced discrimination to demand change.
A strong sense of pride resonates in Mina’s voice as she reflects on the transformation that has taken place in her village. It is through hard work and determination that she and the other members of the group have come together to create real change.
“ Before joining the group I had no idea what services were available. My husband and I couldn’t support ourselves. Our land was dry and we had to wait for the rain to water the crops. We barely had enough to eat, let alone the money to buy medicine. Every day was a struggle.
Since joining the women’s group I’ve received training. I’ve learnt what my family is entitled to, and how to access it. Recently, all the members of the group came together and approached a local government agricultural centre for help.
As a result, they gave us five different types of seed and advice about farming. They also helped us to set up an irrigation system. This means we can preserve water and grow enough crops to feed our families throughout the year.”
Now, the people in Mina’s community are not only growing more food, but are accessing life-changing government services.
“We now know that when we’re pregnant or unwell, we’re able to go to nearby health centres for treatment.I had no idea that we were entitled to free care.”
Thanks to supporters of Find Your Feet, Mina and her community are seeing change. On 20th February, we celebrated the World Day of Social Justice, a day for recognising that no one should have to face discrimination because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. This year we will continue to support marginalised communities in Nepal, to speak out against injustice and demand their equal rights.
You can help us provide training and support for even more women like Mina by donating now.
Learn more about the Tharu people in this short video.