Two ears ago I announced that our NGO Project in Nepal had its own website, roshansfriends.org. The need for help is not less today, a year after the earthquake, where almost 9.000 people lost their lives, three times more were injured seriously and thousands of people lost their homes. Due to bureaucracy, corruption and India’s untimely interference in Nepal’s internal affairs in their efforts to agree on a constitution, all the money that the international community donated to Nepal, hasn’t yet reached the people who need it the most. The money we collect goes directly – and under the state radar – to the Chepang-area, four hours drive east of Kathmandu. When we get off the bus, we trek half a day up the mouantain untill we reach the upper Chepang Gaon village where it all started. Roshan, our local friend, is visiting the village about four times a year and discuss with the clan leader where the financiel help is most needed. Our work is based on the principle of self-help and we support education and healthcare e.g. teachers salaries, medical care, teaching aids, replanting trees, water supply, adult education, production of millet and honey, construction of chimneys etc.
Kate, Sofie and I had a hand-over from the participants in the medical trek (see the former blog-entry) and together with Rune, we went directly to the village to follow up on all the new initiatives. On the way through the village towards the school I noticed a new house-construction including a new build chimney. This gave me the idea to the ‘Operation Chimney’. A chimney in Nepal costs 4000 DKK (about 680 USD). The Nepali State subsidies with 2000 DKK when the chimney is build. But apart from some very few mountain-peasants, nobody can afford to pay 4000 DKK to build a chimney. We had a meeting with the young clan-leader to find out if they were interested in ‘Project Chimney’. The young clan-leader should then be the first to have set up a chimney so that he and his family would avoid the smoke, very hazardous to health, from the open fireplaces. The economy is like this: RF supports with a subsidy of 2000 DKK + a loan of 2000 DKK to each family that wants to build a chimney. When the chimney is build, the loan will be paid back to RF with the state-subsidy.
In 2013 the 8th chimney was set up in Chepang Gaon, so the project has turned out to be a success.
In 2011 Ditte, Philip and Rune went to Nepal for a medical trek to Chepang Gaon together with Roshan. Ditte is a doctor and the others assisted her as medics. During a good week they were treating a number of people from all over the Chepang Gaon area for boils, stomach-trouble, wounds and all sorts of illnesses. Absence of common hygiene showed up to be the biggest problem. They were teaching in the importance of washing hands before the meals and the pupils were told that they ought to wash their hands when they arrived to the school in the morning. Families and children were handed over tooth-brusshes and tooth-paste and everybody were brushing their teeth very eagerly. Another big problem, which was identified during the medical trek, is general bad respiratory tracts. In spite of the healthy mountain air and the absence of smoking cars and machines, many people, both children and adults, had large-scaled troubles with respiratory tracts and their lungs. The big sinner is the open fireplaces in the houses with no other exhaust devices than a hole in the roof.
Roshan has been in contact with the clan-leader Raju from Chepang Gaon.
Everybody is very satisfied with the work of the three teachers. As you might already know two of the teachers have returned to Chepang Gaon after they finished their teacher training. They were both among the first pupils at our village-school and have now decided to help their own village.
Ten pupils, both boys and girls, have continued their studies further down the mountains, a two hours walk down to the school in Shangrila. Chepang Gaoun runs to the 5th grade and Shangri-la to the 10th grade.
Shangri-la has experienced an increasing number of pupils and now counts about five hundred. They also had a new building with better room for the pupils.
Since 1997 Shangri-la has received teaching ressources and non-prescription medication and small prizes from RF.