Why Nepal

When you think about Nepal what comes to mind?  Most likely your thoughts are of Mt Everest, the majestic Himalayan Mountains, and the rich history of temples and traditions.  The population of Nepal is approximately 29 million people. Predominantly Hindu and Buddhist, Nepal is a melting pot of many cultures and beliefs with recognized castes and ethnic groups who speak many languages and where spirituality and daily life are intertwined. One of the beauties of the Nepali culture is its simplicity – fancy homes, material items, and excess are seldom seen. Nepali people value family, religion, education, and basic needs like food, sanitation, shelter, clean drinking water . . . and a cup of tea with a friend. 

Our travels to Nepal and the work we have done there have demonstrated that there are many opportunities to help the Nepali.  Rand, one of founders, believes that "The bang for the buck -- especially supporting women in education -- is just so exponential".  Mark, another one of our founders, has found that the Nepali live such a harsher, harder life than us, but their optimism is phenomenal.  "Optimism always made me fight for them."  And Bruce, our President of the Board, is motivated by the feeling that "One of the things I love about Ten Friends is that we are not only helping the people in Nepal, but it's really about helping people right here in Central Oregon." 

Nepal is also one of the poorest countries in the world. Landlocked, underdeveloped and politically unstable. Children represent the most vulnerable segment of the population and face potential trafficking into bonded labor and slavery, high rates of infant mortality, child marriage, poor water sanitation, food insecurity and limited access to education. Lack of proper infrastructures and teaching materials, and a high student-to-teacher ratio present a hurdle to progress. Free basic education is guaranteed in the constitution but the program lacks funding for effective implementation.[There are still many disadvantaged children in Nepal and young people don’t have the financial resources or opportunity to continue their studies and elevate their lives. But there is also great potential, possibility and children with ambitions and dreams that can be reached with just a little help. Family values are important in the Nepali tradition, and multi-generational patriarchal joint families have been the norm in Nepal, though nuclear families are becoming common in urban areas. An overwhelming majority of Nepalis, with or without their consent, have their marriages arranged by their parents or other family elders.

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