Nare Magar’s home village is Marek Katahre in Dhankuta in East Nepal. Situated at 2000mts and with views of Makalu and Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, the area is one of the chief recruiting grounds for the Gurkha soldiers for both the British and Indian army.
The local area is agricultural and the villagers live at a basic subsistence level farming the terraces carved from the steep hillsides. It’s a very hard life and they work seven day weeks to feed themselves. Due to the limited size of their farms few people own animals. Most people get their water from springs, some with concrete bases constructed many years ago by the British Gurkha Welfare Organisation. There is limited government aid and no local health care.
Many young people go to Kathmandu to work often in poor working conditions. Some young men go to work in the Gulf states doing hard and dangerous jobs in 50 degree heat and living communally in hostels. In the last few years seven young men from the area have died in accidents in the Gulf.
School is available from the age of six years and every effort is made by families to send their children to school. However the trip takes two hours each day and in the monsoon the flooded rivers are too risky for the younger children to cross.
When adults are working babies are often carried on their back or looked after by their young siblings at home especially in the monsoon. Babies are often left alone in baskets suspended in the house porch. The mothers and fathers know this is less than ideal and detrimental to their childrens health but they are left with no choice.
Nare Magar came home to his village after a long season of guiding. As he expected, most villagers were out working hard in the fields and he saw a baby all alone hanging in a basket laying in her own excrement and crying. She’d had been left alone for hours as her parents just had to go to work in the fields. It was that or the whole family went hungry.
This everyday event started Nare thinking of building a creche and community child care centre for the village. A common facility here in the UK but almost unheard of in Nepali villages.
Back in Kathmandu he talked to fellow guides from that area who all agreed that the idea was great but almost impossible to realise due to lack of money. The first issue was to seek the approval of all the villagers. With the aid of the village elders a meeting approved the idea but there was absolutely no money available.
Undeterred, Nare set about raising the £3000 needed. With the aid of our mutual friend Linda Sherpa, Nare set about bringing Nepali goods including self photographed and published calendars into the UK to sell to raise funds for the project. Together with fund raising events Nare manage to scrape enough money to start building.
Back in Marek Katahre it was decided by the community that each family would put in labour to build the facility.
For several years, after the guiding season, Nare would go back to Marek Katahre and help with the building.I think it’s fair to say that Nare did a lot of the hands on building work. After a lot of perseverance and hard work the building is now largely complete and in daily use not only by young children but those older children unable to make the trek to school.
Older children return from school and use the library. They have about 150 simple books in both English and Nepali but more are needed. Children play football outside on the only flat land in the village.
The building lacks storage facilities and low tables and seats, shelves and books.
Future plans are to build a community washing area with a water tap and childrens play area so the fund raising continues.
Nare gives a proportion of his earning from guiding you to this project. The project is a success and Nare would like to see the principle rolled out across Nepal.
This year the running costs of £850 for the two part time child carers are met by a a group of Swedish trekkers but from September 2013 there are no sponsors and the whole projects future is under threat.
Can you help? Even £20 will make a difference.
Please contact us to arrange your donation.