The forgotten people of the Himalayas 

Other Objectives - Development of child-friendly model villages 

We have great plans: Back to Life e. V. wants to establish child-friendly model villages where the basic needs of people such as food, clothing, appropriate housing, basic health care and education can be met by the community from its own resources. These villages are to serve as models, encouraging other communities in Nepal to change their lives.

Step by step, we want to help more than 13,000 people to improve their living conditions. If we reach this goal, we have already assisted nearly a quarter of the entire population of the region.

For a deeper understanding of our development concept for the forgotten people of the Himalayas we are subsequnetly describing the planned activities in more detail.

With your help we want to achieve the following objectives in the model regions during the next three years:

a) Construction of five community- and birthcentres, with one centre in each model area. All actvities taking place in these buildings are aiming at giving children the possibility to grow up in a child-friendly and sheltered environment, reducing the dramatically high infant mortality rate and improving the sanitary situation of the women, especially of the pregnant ones.

  1. Each community centre will include a birth house annex where women can give birth in a dignified and hygienic environment that enhances chance of survival for them and their babies and therewith will help to decrease the infant and maternal mortality rate. The village communities involved have given their explicit consent to this plan and support the project, as it does not clash with their culture but avoid the widespread belief that women who have their period or give birth are "unpurified" and therefore must live outside the house, in dirty stables or mud holes in the forest. Each village can yearly report on women or babies which died while or directly after the birth from infections, internal bleeding or other complications.
  2. The buildings will have sufficient rooms and will be provided with all the necessary equipment to mind children, provide training for adults in the areas sanitation, health, gender equality and income generation as well as serving as meeting places. Each centre is to have a reading room with newspapers, magazines and books, as well as dedicated playrooms and music rooms.
  3. The community centre will pass into the ownership of the communities in the long-run. Initially, a management team, including our social workers, will be responsible for the running and the sustainability of the centre. In the meanwhile, two persons in charge will be selected by the communities who will undergo a three-year training course. After the project is completed, these two persons will continue looking after the facility or train others in doing so. The village community will set up a fund to finance the operation of the community centre and secure its viability in the long term.

b) Construction of schools and improvement of the educational system: Only four per cent of the children in Mugu are able to attend in school on a regular basis. To fight the high illiteracy rate and the connected lack of chances we are planning extensive programmes and building measures. These will improve the educational situation for the children and therewith provide a basis for a positive and sustainable development of the next generations.

  1. Construction of school buildings: We are planning to build seven new schools. The first one in the village of Seri with its 2,000 inhabitants is already under construction. The former school, which gave place to 75 pupils from grade one to grade three was destroyed by a destructive landslide during the last monsoon. The schooling of the kids is interrupted as the next school is more than two hours walk away and does not have the capacities to cope with so many new pupils. The new school is planned for 125 scholars from the grades one to five.
  2. School enrollment: To promote schooling, we aim at registering around 600 new pupils within the first three years of the project. They will be provided with school uniforms, books, copies and pens.
  3. The existing village schools will be supported with furnitures, books, maps, charts, displays, blackboards and dictionaries. All teachers and pupils will be educated in human rights, with special emphasis on the rights of children.
  4. Gender awareness training: People are to be made aware of the specific problems and needs of children and women in society, with special regards to their rights. Each household will be provided with information on the educational opportunities and schooling programmes for children and adults. Every year just before the start of the new school year, people will be brought together to emphasise once more the importance of school attendance.

c) Pro-active health care: After sunset, the people in Mugu live in absolute darkness and do only have firewood to warm their houses, cook their meals and as a source of light.  But as most of the houses do not have any window as a result of the cold climate, the women and children do have to sit in the smoke of open fire for hours. Up to 70 different diseases are caused by this smoke - from respiratory infections to eye problems - and thus also contribute to the very low life expectancy in the region. In order to enhace the health ans life conditions of the people as well as the basic medical services the following activities will be implemented:

  1. All Households are to be offered solar lighting systems.
  2. All Families are given smokeless stoves for heating and cooking.
  3. Outdoor toilets for each household are to be built in the village under our guidance.
  4. Six young women will temporarily leave the Mugu region to attend a 30-month training course to become care assistants and midwives and work in their home region afterwards.
  5. All school children will have dedicated classes where health care and hygiene issues are discussed and explained.
  6. We will operate regular "health camps" deploying gynecologists, general practicioners, dentist and nurses in special.
  7. HIV awareness programmes for school children but also for adults will be rolled out in all villages.
d) Optimisation of the agricultural production: Here, the first step towards change will consist of a detailed evaluation of the actual situation in the various villages. In this process, we want to evaluate the methods that are currently used and see whether they are appropriate and sustainable. In addition, we will identify new crops that could be grown in Mugu and want to learn more about the current diet of the local people and their methods for storing food.All farmers in the model regions will be trained in agricultural production, in line with the findings of our evaluation.
  1. An irrigation system is to be set up, preventing crop failure during dry periods. This system will also provide villagers with clean drinking water.
  2. It is envisaged to establish agricultural centres. These centres will rent tools to farmers, provide them with information in the form of reading material or formal training courses.
  3. Each farming family will receive seed from the project and has access to modern agricultural implements.
  4. Greenhouses and vegetable plots form the basis for a more nutritious diet and safer food storage.
  5. Farmers from the project villages in the model regions will be brought together at meetings to discuss the trade of agricultural produce and other issues.
  6. Scholarships: In this rural area, proper farming skills are very important. Back to Life will therefore offer six young men and women the opportunity to undergo a 30-month training course at an agricultural college. After completion of the course, the participants will not only be able to apply their skills on their own farms, but will share their knowledge with others.
e) Schooling of the villagers to reach economical security through savings groups and micro-credits: The enhancement of the families living conditions as well as new opportunities to generate income are to create adequate frame conditions under which the parents are able to abstain from sending their kids to work - without endangering the survival of the family.
  1. Savings groups: In every village, people will have the opportunity to join a savings group. Each household in the model region will be involved in these schemes. Everybody thus has a chance to learn how they can save a little money.
  2. Credit training: The members of the savings groups will receive training as regards the handling of loans. This training is very important, as it is to enable future generations to run a micro-bank to boost economic activity.

Prerequisites - own initiative

All activities under the programme must be supported and promoted by the local communities. The establishment of the community centres is therefore crucial, as they enable people to organise, coordinate and participate.

We would love helping the children and their families in this region to futurely stand on their own feet. Through this "sustainable help to self-help" and the permanent participation of the villagers, we can afford a hopeful and dignified life for many people. Therefore we need your help!

Please support us by becoming a project sponsor, so that we can progress with our plans, build the community centres and birth houses and send the children of Mugu to school. Together, we can make huge changes to the life and future of nearly a quarter (13,000 of 45,000 people) of the population of Mugu!