‘Rat Catcher’ tribes in Nepal are considered the lowest of the low. Although discrimination against tribes was made illegal in 1962, decades of the Nepalese caste system has resulted in a hierarchy deeply woven into some people’s minds. Those at the bottom are considered even lower in status than animals.
These tribes are often seen as outcasts; not worthy of attention or help. They are poor financially and often do not have access to education. It’s the people in these tribes that Feed The Hungry supports.
In Nepal, Pastor Ruben Rasaili runs a school for the children from these tribes, as well as orphans. Currently, 560 children attend ‘Innovative Academy’, free of charge. Many of the children come from seven surrounding ‘rat catcher’ villages. At school, the children are taught the English language, which can help them to access higher paid jobs in the future.
Feed The Hungry has supported Pastor Ruben for several years, both with his work in the school and also in disaster relief in response to an earthquake and severe flooding, which Nepal has been hit by in the past 5 years. The country’s climate and geographic location makes it prone to natural disasters.
The food that is provided by Feed The Hungry and served at Innovative Academy is all sourced or grown locally. Next to the school is a piece of land, just over an acre in size, which the school leases with the support of Feed The Hungry. On it, they grow crops such as wheat, rice, mustard and vegetables, which are used in the daily school meals. Excess produce can be sold to buy other types of food to supplement the student’s regular meals.
While this method of producing food for feeding the school is working well, Pastor Ruben is looking to expand the project.
“One of the crucial things we need to think of is long-term endurance,” explained Ruben, “for it, cattle farming is one of the best among all I know. The requirements are land, Buffalo, a cattle shed and workers.” Feed The Hungry has seen in other countries how keeping live-stock can not only provide additional income for a project, but also gives a source of fertilizer for the soil, helping it to continue to produce good crops.
Nepal is just one of the countries in which Feed The Hungry is developing sustainable farming.