Our 50 year anniversary: Nepal

in South Asia that lives in the shadow of
the Himalayan mountain range – the awe-inspiring peaks
that attract climbers and tourists from around the world. But while the mountains
are a symbol for Nepal’s strength, on the ground, the poverty is visible. Nepal is one of the poorest and least
developed countries in South Asia. Its remote location,
domestic instability and susceptibility to natural disaster have hindered the country’s
economic development. For almost half of its 50-year history, Caritas Australia has walked alongside
the most marginalised through its local partner,
Caritas Nepal. WOMAN: It’s a journey of
two Caritas member organisations in uplifting the lives of the people
in the field and help them live with dignity. NARRATOR: Around 1 in 4 Nepalis
lives on less than $1.25 a day, and 76% of the population
rely on agriculture to make a living. Initiatives like the Integrated Pest
Management program trains farmers, giving them the resources and skills
to increase their crop harvests, making them sustainable
and chemical free by using organic fertilisers. The Caritas Australia-supported program has created 52 Farmer Field Schools
across the country for poor farmers like Maya, giving them food
for their own communities as well as generating jobs
and income. NARRATOR: So in many parts of
the country, Caritas works closely with small farmers
and landless people in the country. MAN: In Nepal, we have about
30% households in poverty. They have less than 0.2 hectares
of land. They were the bonded labourers
in the past. They needed the support
for their rights. MAN: But those who know us,
they really appreciate our work and they are so happy and when you visit the villages, so many people coming and telling, “What I am today, what we have today
is because of Caritas. “Caritas has helped us to overcome
our problems, our difficulties.” When I hear it from the refugees,
from the farmers, from the landless people,
from the women, and from the conflict affected, I feel so happy that the Church
is able to do something for these people
who are really marginalised. NARRATOR: With just over a quarter
of women literate, cooperatives, particularly in remote
rural communities like Balthali, are creating new opportunities. MAN: We established
a women’s cooperative. This is the Tamang ethnic group there. They have gained a very well…
strong sense of community there, so we just animated them and provided them the methods of
microcredit and Enterprise Promotion. And they were very fast learners and they have increased their savings
significantly. NARRATOR: In the Kathmandu Valley, a candy factory runs with
the support of Caritas Australia. Almost three-quarters of those involved
in these cooperatives are women. They offer savings and loan
opportunities as well as jobs and training. Poverty also makes women and children
susceptible to issues like unsafe migration and violence. WOMAN: We organise trainings and we promote our members
to work themselves and we support them economically, socially and culturally as well. NARRATOR: Human trafficking is
also a problem. In our long history with Caritas Nepal, over the years we have supported
programs that have helped rehabilitate and reintegrate girls who’ve been
trafficked back with their families. WOMAN: They are not aware of
being trafficked. They are not educated. And also people are always looking for
a better life because there is no alternative
in their village. Now, even those girls are helping us,
being resource person, so that is one of the biggest
achievement I see in my working experience. So they become our partners,
they become our friends, they become our resource persons and now we have prevention programs. NARRATOR: As we mark 50 years of
love and compassion, we reflect on Nepal as an example
in South Asia of our work to journey with the most marginalised, regardless of ethnicity, religion
or political beliefs. SHASHI: For me, Caritas Nepal exemplifies
Catholic social teachings in action. Caritas Nepal staff usually assist
poor communities, to enable them to live lives
with human dignity. And in doing this, they also follow
the principle of subsidiarity. MANINDRA: This is how we have worked
together, journeyed together. Thank you, Caritas. Thank you, Caritas. Dhanybhad, Caritas Australia. Dhanybhad, Caritas. Thank you, Caritas Australia. Dhanybhad.

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