The kingdom of Nepal lies along the southern Himalaya with China to the north and India to the south. This relatively small country has a remarkably varied terrain and climate.
Our partner ActionAid Nepal coordinated testimony collection during 1995 and 1996, mainly in the western part of Sindhulpalchok, a district north of Kathmandu characterised by steep, terraced and often eroded hillsides.
The testimonies are strong on gender issues and also highlight the complex effects on communities of greater access to education and the interrelated trend for increased migration. Panos South Asia coordinated the collection of a further nine testimonies from women.
“The convention is to send the sons to school while the daughters are made to attend to domestic chores like collecting fodder and looking after the young ones. If they are sent to school, barely must they reach the age of 15 then they are considered ripe for marriage. In their own homes they are considered’strangers’ who must one day attend to the care of another’s home. So, they are sent away like buffaloes and are not allowed to do anything except to collect fodder and other daily chores.”
Indira, female, 25 years, teacher
“If we look at it deeply, this ropeway is far more useful than a motorable road. This does not destroy our environment or our forest. Roads in the mountain get damaged during the rains. It is not always possible to construct roads everywhere, and road construction requires huge investments. We saw this ropeway as a simple, easy and quick alternative and made a request for it.”
Chandra, male, 55 years
“In the old days, people used to clean the ponds. But, today, not everyone joins hands. One pond is still being maintained somehow. With water available from taps these days, people couldn’t care less about the ponds. [While] cleaning the pond they took their share of sediment…and dumped it in their fields as manure. There would be competition to get this clayey mud [as it] was better than the present-day chemical fertilisers. Everyone looks for easy jobs these days. Who will go to carry that muck and mud? Now, with the introduction of chemical fertilisers, nobody cares for the rich sediment from the ponds.”
Satya, male, 92 years