LIVING ON THE FRINGES OF SOCIETY
The people living in our project villages are socially excluded in Nepal and belong to the poorest population class of the country. Access to education is usually denied to them for economic, but also because of social restrictions. Their manpower is systematically exploited. In some areas, they are not even allowed to use medical facilities nor seek medical help. Often, even the use of the well in the village is not allowed, as the population believes that a Dalit or casteless person contaminates the water. 90 per cent of the „outcasted“ women live below the poverty line and do not know how to feed their children. The translation of the word Dalit is “oppressed people”.
As the living conditions in the forests and mountains of Nepal worsened over the years, people could not find any work, food became increasingly scarce and famines broke out, the already disadvantaged Dalit families moved to the fertile Terai area (“wet land”).
Casteless, former tribal, also settled in this area. Only a few years ago, they were still living in the woods. Even a few years ago, they had still been living in the forest. But when the forest was transformed into a National Park and hunting was prohibited, these tribal had to find a new livelihood but lacked the needed knowledge as they had lived far away from civilization. Both ethnic groups, Dalits and Tribals, have mostly just started to settle in our project area about one generation ago and jointly live there as the ‘outcasts’ of the Nepalese society.