A self-sufficient orphanage thrives even in the harshest of conditions

Phearak Svay, World Vision Australia’s Regional Portfolio Manager for East Asia, recently visited Nepal. As you sponsor a Nepalese child, we thought you might like to hear about his experience during the trip. 

“After two flights, the second being on a very small, ten-seater plane, we reached the Jumla project. It is located in a mountainous region of central Nepal where the temperature can get down to -12 degrees Celsius in winter. Right now, it is not so cold and feels like early winter in Melbourne.

"Jumla is among the top ten poorest districts in Nepal.  Road infrastructure is lacking and it could take 48 hours to travel there by road from Kathmandu. Health and education services are also relatively poor compared with the rest of the country."

The harsh weather conditions in Jumla mean that the majority of outdoor activities can only be done for seven months of the year and very limited activities can be done during the remaining five months.

"Staff must walk the steep terrain to visit the communities within the region as there is no road access for vehicles or motorbikes.  They often stay overnight with communities.  I am really amazed by the commitment of our field colleagues, most of who don’t get to see their families for six months at a time."

We set off on foot to see some of the work that has been done in the region. After two hours we come to an orphanage that cares for 20 children and is run by an Indian pastor and his family.  I was inspired by the self-sufficiency of this centre! They produce enough food to feed the children from the various crops they grow throughout the year. They also raise chickens, pigs and cows for food and to earn income.  We saw a garden full of cabbage and corn, a pile of harvested beans and many sacks of potatoes that they had just harvested. There were also two rooms full of apples!

"The challenge faced by the centre before World Vision started working here was the lack of green vegetables for children to eat during winter. World Vision assisted by helping to set up a greenhouse and provided training on how to grow fruit and vegetables in the greenhouse environment."

The centre is now able to grow green vegetables throughout the year.  Because of its success, the centre is often used as a model to show to other community members who want to learn about home gardening and agriculture management.

Although I am a bit tired from our walk (the local staff here walk really fast!), I can’t help but be impressed by what I have seen and I am looking forward to seeing more of the amazing work that our colleagues have been doing here when we set off again tomorrow.“