Nepal, in the Mountain's Shadow

2009, Society  -  48 min Leave a Comment
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Nepal is home to the Himalayan Mountains. For thousands of years people have traveled to the Himalayas seeking spiritual enlightenment, proclaiming man could be freed of all sin by merely gazing upon their peaks. This tradition is continued today by pilgrims who journey to Nepal across the globe to glimpse upon its natural beauty and explore its ancient history. But there's another side to Nepal. A side few travelers ever witness. Poverty-stricken slums and villages have become a common sight across the landscape.

The main role of the government of any country is to address the problems of the people and to find better solutions, but that's not happening in Nepal. The poor become poorer and poorer, and the rich become richer and richer, and there's a big gap... while the government isn't providing even the basic infrastructure to these poor people. Without further education most Nepalese are condemned to a life of manual labor earning an average income of $300 per year.

For decades Nepal's leaders have struggled to provide for their people. The situation escalated in the mid 1990s when civil war broke out across the country. And what started as a movement toward democracy ended in catastrophe. Over 12,000 people were killed in the conflict.

Many years later Visma Raj Paudel opened the first of the many projects to come... a children's orphanage. Refusing to give up on his dreams Visma began seeking alternative means to help the people and children of Nepal. Today the orphanage is home to more than 70 children. It's no wonder that when Visma first began selecting children for the orphanage one of the first places he went back to was his childhood village.

To date the orphanage has received over 1,000 applications from communities open to provide children with a better life. Unable to adopt them all Visma started the scholarship program. He's supporting only 200 children under his different projects, but it's very true that are so many children on the road and in the villages who are abandoned, not going to school, and forced to work as child servants.