Creating an oasis in Ramechhap

“I quit schooling after 10th standard because we do not have colleges at our village and my family could not afford to send me to city for higher education”, says 18 years old Bijita Majhi, from Rakathum village of Ramechhap who had come to voice out for women’s
right on 8th March during International Women’s Day Celebration conducted by Nepal Jesuit Social Institute.

Sabina Majhi, another active participant of the program also had to quit her studies after 12th grade. She’d finished 10th grade at a local school and 10+2 at a college in Dhulikhel, 58 km away from her village. Bijita’s sister, Rojina Majhi currently studying at 9th standard, spends 1.5 hours just to reach the nearest school located on another slope of the dry hill.

Ram Hari Thapa Magar, an NJSI staff says, “discontinuation of schooling at Rakathum is high because of this and other reasons like urgency of the family to earn money and lack of awareness about importance of education”.

Rakathuma and most of the villages of Ramechhap are backward in other forms of infrastructural development as well. It is a misery to learn that the villages still do not have electricity; people depend on solar and kerosene for lighting. Rakathum borders with B.P Highway separated by Sunkoshi River; yet it takes more than an hour through 7 km long one way off-road trail to reach there just because there’s no bridge to connect the two hills.

Sunkoshi runs 3 km down the village and yet the red and orange land remains barren for most of the years with only one crop, maize, grown once in year. Iron rich soil of Rakathum village is good for millet groundnut, lentils, castor seeds, and other types of oil crops. However, good irrigation, which is a lack, is a must for these cash crops.

“We are thankful to NJSI for the water pipeline connection they had sponsored in 2016” says Keshar Nepali, a local beneficiary of Chapadi locality, Rakathum. Similarly Ram says, “33 nearby families, with average of 6 members, have utilized the supply for household and kitchen gardening. However, the water reservoir does not suffice for farther houses and the supply is insufficient for irrigation”. Keshar Nepali requests and is hopeful for further feasible support from NJSI.

People of Rakathum have very limited means of development because of its geographical complexities and rain intensity. Nevertheless, NJSI is convinced that steady efforts and compliance from local people, especially youths will change the face of Rakathum.

This article was first published in the NJSI News Bulletin of January- March 2018.
NJSI is part of the 
Xavier Network, supported by Jesuit Missions around the world, including our own in Britain.