Village Development Project Okharpauwa
The Okharpauwa area is located to the northwest of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. This is an area where people live in very poor circumstances. Tiny plots of land owned by the farmer families and alcohol abuse by the men have caused the development of the village to be far behind. Regular school attendance is often not possible because of the hard work that children have to do at home.
The Balami community of Okharpauwa has a rich tradition of cultural activities. Many of these traditional rites are very different from those of other ethnic groups in Nepal. But there are rites that clash with modern times. One of these is child marriage of children aged ten to twelve years.
Normally a bride would be chosen and reserved when the son was only five years old. After this the parents of the bride would receive presents every year. The wedding would take place five to seven years after the bride was reserved. Such a reservation was like a vow. Breaking this meant that a compensation had to be paid. In Nepal’s male-dominated society this only applied to the parents of the bride.
When more and more children were given the chance to go to school, this made the social exclusion of girls even more obvious. Although a law was passed in 1993 banning child marriage in Nepal, not much changed. Marriage meant that the only option for a girl was doing the household chores and looking after the children. The pupils at the only primary school existing in Okharpauwa at that time were almost only boys.
More and more young people in the village became aware of the out-of-date situation. In 2001 a youth group was founded who wanted to implement changes. They called themselves Mahalaxmi Janagariti Yuva Parivar in short MJYP. The group’s actions against child marriage were militant in the beginning until they realised that lack of education was the main reason for this backwardness. With the help of GTZ (German Agency for Technical Cooperation) first steps were taken to make school education available to more and more children, especially girls, when Little Stars took this project over in 2006.
Main Activity Areas
Construction and operation of Mahalaxmi Schule.
School uniforms, school fees, teaching materials and warm winter clothes are provided via our sponsorship programme.
Running Kindergartens to provide education to pre-school kids..
Job Training offers school leavers occupational education to improve their chances at the labour market to find employment.
Supporting the reconstruction of damaged or destroyed homes after the 2015 earthquake by providing our trained masons free of charge