Category Archives: community program

The potential of a coffee

The potential of an Irish coffee morning, or similar event, to support a small village with micro finance in Lalgadh, south-eastern Nepal.

A total amount of €2,173 was donated to Sunderbasti Village Women’s Group for micro finance. This was the result of 3 Irish fundraising events, a coffee morning, a supper night and an afternoon tea party. The events were held in the hosts home and included friends and neighbours which, as well as creating a lovely atmosphere, has the added advantage of spreading the news about our work and about the lives of others.

Sunderbasti Women's Group Finance committee
Sunderbasti Women’s Group Finance committee

We are extremely grateful to the hosts and to all who attended,  your interest and encouragement in our work with the Nepalese people is greatly appreciated. We take this opportunity to thank you, on behalf of the women’s group, for your wonderful support.

Brief Project Details:

NLT Ireland fundraises, supports and enables NLT Nepal to eliminate leprosy and its associated stigma and provide human rights for individuals, empowering the most rejected to become respected community leaders. Our Sunderbasti Women’s Micro Finance project is to provide finance and support for 28 women and their families, enabling them to work towards empowerment, stigma elimination, social inclusion, human rights and dignity.

Sunderbasti Village is located 3 km south east of Lalgadh hospital. It is a rural area in the Terai (lowlands) in south-eastern Nepal. The 350 (breakdown below #) inhabitants are landless migrants from the time of the Maoist insurgency and are living in this area since 2009. Sunderbasti is a very poor community, lacking basic human needs. The women’s group have requested funds for micro finance to provide food for their family and to sell produce.

# Sunderbasti Village Number of inhabitants Male Female Notes
350 157 193 85 of the total population are under 15 years of age

Access to funds for the women will help provide food for their family as well as generate an income eg., a goat can provide enough milk for a family and the excess produce sold for income. The role of business owner can elevate the social status of an entire family.

Empowerment and participation in one’s own development process can bring lasting change to females and to their families. Our micro finance scheme includes money-handling skills, decision making skills and veterinary skills if relevant. Confidence in these areas has been proven to aid the presentation of potential sufferers for early diagnosis of leprosy to our compassionate hospital and community care staff.

This request from Sunderbasti’s Women’s Group is the result of a successful project we support in the nearby village of Khoksikhola. Khoksikhola have built a new community centre, have benefited from a new fresh water supply and large reservoir tank, new toilets and 15 women have received micro finance. This village has been transformed and the people’s self-development in clearly evident.  Such improvements have happened in dozens of villages where NLT works with the villagers undertaking the laboring tasks. The main benefit of this success to the wider community is a revolution of empowerment, one small community’s success influencing another. We support this empowerment and stigma elimination one person at a time, one self-help group at a time and one village at a time.

Our support with Sunderbasti community has developed over the last few years and will continue with support gradually reducing when appropriate. Re-paid micro finance funding will continue to be reallocated to new beneficiaries, so the project will have long term impact and duration.

From our experience, access to and on-going support in 3 core areas can aid empowerment and bring lasting change to females, their families and the wider community:

Self-help group

Clean drinking water

Micro finance

Sunderbasti Village’s current development:

  1. Self-help group – a Self-help group has been established and the members are meeting all their monthly requirements including making consistent savings
  2. Clean drinking water- the provision of clean drinking water and the installation of toilets is currently under construction with development aid funding acquired by NLT Ireland
  3. Micro finance – with the generous help of above fundraising endeavours this part of Sunderbasti’s community development is now currently being implemented.

If you wish to hear more about this project or to hold a coffee morning do get in touch with vera at info@nlt.ie

Faces of Nepal

I have just spent an inspirational  week working in NLT’s Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre (LLHSC) in south-eastern Nepal.  Reviewing and discussing our projects and working with the community outreach teams as they go about their daily work. I was also assisting Dr Sarah Jay as she collected survey responses for research assessing the group approach to empowerment.

LLHSC’s outreach work in village communities is the focus of this research. CSI-R University of Limerick Irish Research Council         

The only downside to the trip was the icy cold fog that lingered most of the week preventing the sun from breaking through. The cold weather adds to the discomfort of village life especially were many families are still living under tarpaulin or straw.  A short video giving a brief view of one of my days there, Vera.

Overcoming stigma in Lalgadh, rural Nepal

The link between social standing and stigma elimination has long been recognised by Nepal Leprosy Trust.  A year-long collaboration between Professor Orla Muldoon (UL), Dr Sarah Jay (UL), Psychology department and Mike Winterburn (Limerick Institute of Technology) will gauge the success of this synergy.  Read more on this research project in our Summer newsletter here

Villager filling up survey form for the University of Limerick research study.
Villager filling up survey form for the University of Limerick research study.
Data collection forms in transit to Limerick, Ireland
Data collection forms in transit to Limerick, Ireland

LLSC’s Community Program

MONSOON, hot, wet, muddy and an awesome Community Program.

Stretching out a compassionate hand to thousands of leprosy-affected, marginalised, untouchables (Dalits) and others in poverty and dire need.

Flooding in the Terai - not so far from Lalgadh - hundreds have lost their lives during the past week. August 2016.
Flooding in the Terai – not so far from Lalgadh – hundreds have lost their lives during the past week. August 2016.

The monsoon is here – it’s hot, wet and sticky with frequent heavy rain, thunderstorms and lightning. Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital & Services Centre (LLSC) is on a hill and so is safe (occasional lightning strikes knock out our Internet). The river next to the hospital is flooded.

The monsoon is a joy for farmers in the right areas, as the monsoon is essential for rice planting and transplanting, especially because Nepal faces severe food shortages in many areas.

rice fields Graeme aug 2016

But in other areas the monsoon brings flooding and landslide disasters, as rivers flooded with heavy monsoonal rain, plus melting Himalayan snow and glaciers rush down the Himalayan slopes into valleys, into the flat Terai (where Lalgadh Hospital is situated) and then into India. Landslides are frequent and rip away earthquake-weakened slopes burying villages and destroying roads, and once in the flatlands the waters spread out and causing wide areas of inundation. Hundreds have already died and thousands been made homeless in just the last couple of weeks

At Lalgadh Hospital this is the busy season with increasing illness, water-borne diseases, and swelling patient numbers (500-600 per day). Despite the heat, rains, mud and flooding, and busyness, the 3 major arms of LLSC –
(a) HOSPITAL SERVICES,
(b) COMMUNITY OUTREACH Program,
(c) TRAINING/CAPACITY BUILDING,
carry with that what I’d call mighty perseverance!

LLSC’s COMMUNITY PROGRAM is totally awesome! It provides a spectacular outreach program for many thousands – from leprosy affected, marginalised, untouchable, stigmatised communities in the 4 Districts adjacent to LLSC (2.5 million people). Despite the monsoon rains, mud and flooding it continues its daily operation reaching out to difficult-to-reach poor and needy vlllages where leprosy and other diseases of poverty are still rampant.               Extract from Dr Graeme. Lalgadh Hospital, August 19th 2016.