Nepal’s Indigenous Chepang Community
Nepal is a land of diversity. It is a land inhabited by people of different cast and creed. Ethnic groups such as Newar, Gurung, Magar, Tharu, Raute, Chepang etc. have been living here for thousands of years. Among these ethnic groups, Chepangs are one of the most backward nationalities of Nepal. The majority of these community members are uneducated and extremely poor. They are mostly located in Gorkha, Dhading, Chitwan, Makwanpur districts. Chepangs live in hilly regions.
Very often the area is not developed and 99% of these people are uneducated. They rely on farming but they don’t have modern farming technologies. Therefore when they grow vegetable and crops it is usually not even enough to feed their family for a whole year.
Apart from that they do not have access to very basic facilities such as good roads, health care, good school which are all an essential part of human life.
We, the crew members of "Happy Hari Trek & Expeditions", "Adventure AVES nepal" and The "Rock'nWood' went to visit a Chepang village in Bhuling Chowk-8 Hiklung, Gorkha land. There are altogether 45 groups of Chepang people. In Bhuling Chowk there are around 20 houses and the rest of the groups come mainly from other 2 villages.
Most of the houses were damaged by the earthquake of 2015, yet villagers are compelled to live in the same house because they have nowhere to go and didn’t have the money to build a new shelter.
This community is way behind in education because they are not aware of the importance of education thus, they lack of good opportunity. Surprisingly, most of them don’t know much about Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu, which tells us how they are living their life.
Transportation is another major problem there. Students have to walk miles and miles on barefoot to get school. In the same way, to get to the bus station they have to cross the Trishuli River, well that doesn't seem to be a big deal but there is no bridge; they have to cross the river through a ropeway, which is very risky.
In Bhuling village, there is one school called ‘Shree Thumka Primary School’. In this school there is only up to 5thgrade. For high school students have to go to a different village, which is too far and not possible for most of them.
During our trip we found out one success story of the village. A young man who was able to get a college degree returned to teach his village kids. However, he gets monthly Rs, 5000 salary but it is from the locals.
After the research of this Chepang community we have learnt a lot and saw so many ways to help them out. We realize that if we are able to increase even a little of the literacy rate, it will give them a reliable future.
Thus, we have started the ‘Indigenous Chepang Project’. At first listed out to build a free library where village kids could take advantages and learn different things.
If anyone is interested feel free to join us and support us to educate the people of this village. Together we can bring a lot of change.
Sirjana Shrestha (Siru)
(Happy Hari Trek & Expeditions)