Lying between India and China (Tibet), Nepal faces devastating poverty. Foundation Nepal works in Humla, one of the hardest hit and most remote districts of the country.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with poverty levels similar to the sub-Saharan African countries of Uganda and Rwanda. Average per capita income is approximately €275 per annum, and a large section of the population has limited access to basic social services. Unrepresented groups have been excluded from the mainstream, adding to poverty and frustration. Nepal is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, with a huge divide between rich and poor. The predominant religion is Hindu. Nepal was a monarchy until 2007, when it was overthrown and replaced with a democracy following a 10 year civil war. Peace remains fragile however, with civil unrest and general strikes a daily occurrence. There are over 65 political parties in the new Assembly, making decision making and developing consensus very difficult.
Foundation Nepal works in Humla, which is one of the poorest and most isolated districts of Nepal, and is home to around 45,000 people. Perched high in the Himalayas in the far north west of Nepal, bordered by China (Tibet), Humla is the highest and least populated district, as well as the second largest, of Nepal’s 75 districts. The great Karnali River, the largest river in Nepal, dissects the landscape to create deep valleys between snow-capped mountains. The Tibetan influence is strong, with 20% of the population of Tibetan ethnicity and Buddhist religion.
The nearest road is a 10 day walk away, and basic infrastructure, such as electricity, roads and bridges, is largely non-existent. Humla’s statistics on income levels, education and healthcare are far worse than the Nepali average.
1 World Bank Gross National Income per capita 2008
2 Asian Development Bank Report, Nepal – Critical Development Constraints, 2009