Nepal: Current Situation
Nepal is among the poorest, least developed countries in the world. 25 per cent of the population lives on less than US $0.50 per day. Malnutrition rates are alarming: 41 per cent of the country’s children under five are stunted. Child mortality rates are high, especially in remote mountain villages where children die of common childhood diseases (these figures are related to low literacy rates). In January 2018, Nepal was ranked last among 180 countries for air quality in the EPI report, which highlighted air pollution as a leading threat to public health.
Exclusion, abject poverty and hunger erupted into civil war in 1996. The killing and destruction raged for ten years; it left no one untouched. The end of the war saw what little infrastructure there had been destroyed. Since then, continued political instability, high prices, and extreme natural disasters have pushed the country further into chaos and hunger. Massive earthquakes in 2015 killed thousands and displaced many more. In the mountains, the farmers lost everything—their homes, their tools and their livelihoods. Two years later, most were still in temporary housing and nearly a million children were out of school.
At SMD School, we survived the earthquake without injuries, but had lost 30 per cent of our building space. We had to use the money that was meant for a new school (outside the valley/liquefaction risk) to repair and retrofit our buildings. We are now working to recoup the money we’ve lost so we can build a new, larger school in a safer, less polluted area.