I’ve just arrived back home after a two-week trip to Nepal. My trip was a short voluntary project as part of the EU Youth in Action funded project Live Innovation for Environment, Entrepreneurship and Employment LIFE3 coordinated by Finlands Svenska Ungdomsförbund FSU.
As part of the project we visited Nangi village (population approx. 800 people, height 2,260 m above sea level) in the Himalayas near Annapurna mountains, and learnt about how they have developed their community as a whole. The village has a school with 400 students from preschool to high school, and their aim is to have their own university by 2015. They have Internet – in fact it was by far the best and fastest Internet connection in Nepal until a storm broke the connection somewhere by the closest bigger city. The people in the community see what possibilities for learning, commerce and other things the Internet brings. Sometimes I felt they had better insight into this than we do back here at home…
The community has built several businesses (making lokta paper, woven jute bags and purses, mushroom farming and of course the lodges for trekkers) sometimes with the help of volunteers from abroad. Many of them are there to empower women through employing them and the profits go developing the community. For example some women are involved in making jam and bags. the profit is used for women’s health in the village and also creates a fund for travel costs if someone needs to go to the doctor or a hospital in nearby Beni or the closest big city, Pokhara.
Most people in the villages in and around Nangi earn their living from farming and the scenery is stunning. What I admire most is how the villagers have been able to develop their businesses as a community, and still have taken care of the environment around them. It’s a text-book example of what we in the western world are looking to develop to live sustainably. My hope for Nangi and the surrounding villages is that they will continue on this path that they have chosen, and will continue to educate their kids, develop the village and take care of their surroundings.