Isaac Anup Rana is the ADPs Area Manager West for World Vision International Nepal, and he is passionate about improving the lives of children in his country.
Greetings from World Vision Nepal! My name is Isaac Anup Rana – I’ve been working with World Vision for more than 10 years, and right now I’m the Area Development Programmes Area Manager for western Nepal. What does that mean? I monitor and support World Vision’s work in five ditricts, two of which are supported by Australian sponsors.
Firstly, I’d like to say that it’s great that we can do our work with your support. In my job I see the hope, I see the changes and it motivates me to lead my team. Putting the children first is my passion – I want to see change that helps children have a brighter future.
Nepal is a beautiful country, but there is a lot of poverty. Here are some facts:
• 25 per cent of the population live below the poverty line – and that means children don’t get good food and can’t go to school because their families can’t afford it.
• Children make up 44 per cent of the population – that’s over 12 million children – and of those children, 2.6 million are child labourers.
• 41 per cent of children under five are stunted from malnutrition.
• Between 5000 and 15000 Nepali women and girls are trafficked each year into India, often for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
The good news is that from 2002-2013, World Vision’s work in Nepal has benefited 1.2 million people, including 609,200 children. Across our projects, there has been an average 4 per cent increase in children enrolling in schools. We have directly contributed to an 8 per cent increase in children attending Early Childhood Development centres. These are some of my favourite projects – they show so much change and progress. We see the change in how children grow and they are much healthier, and we can also see the impact for their education.
One of my greatest hopes is that communities would be empowered to really work together. I hope that people can unite to support their children, and that communities would really see the importance of treating children well. It has been great to see how our work can break through barriers like the caste system and unite people. In our nutrition projects people of all castes join together to learn about looking after their children regardless of their differences. Similarly, the child clubs and mothers groups are a way to help deal with discrimination.
Child marriage is a really big issue in communities, and the child clubs are helping to make a difference. Usually children do not have a voice to speak with the adults. We have been working with children to build their confidence and capacity, so they can speak out on child protection issues. In some communities the children have united to stop child marriages and help some girls to start going to school. In one community I visited, the mothers groups were so determined they joined with the police and went through the community to try and deter the practice.
Another success story is the Kaski Area Development Program, which ended in 2013. When we finished working in that area, 98.9 per cent of school-aged children were enrolled in school. Our work in health and nutrition had helped to encourage more pregnant women to go for antenatal check-ups and now 81.5 per cent of mothers deliver their children with a health service provider. 91.4 per cent of households now have access to clean water and 99.2 per cent of families have access to toilets at home. You can watch this video about the project to see more of what it achieved.
So there you have it. There really is a desperate need in Nepal, but there have been very good changes. We thank you for your continuing support as we work to bring the welfare of children to the centre.