Lending Promise, Inc.
Lending Promise, Inc.

Why Nepal?

With an average household income of under one dollar per day, Nepal is the fifth poorest country in the world, with more than 40 percent of its families living under the poverty line. Nearly half of its 22 million people -- a population that is expected to double by 2030 -- are unemployed. Its food deficit is widening rapidly, as crops can't keep pace with demand.

Map of Nepal

Six out of 10 children are malnourished. A 10-year bloody civil war that killed 13,000 people and chipped away at tourism, a major source of revenue, has only just ended. With a 45 percent literacy rate -- 28 percent for women -- there seems to be few options for a more productive life.

Poor Nepalese people live in homes with dirt floors and walls, and no electricity or running water. Their houses, typically made of mud with straw roofs, usually comprise two rooms, including one for the family to live in, and one -- if a family is fortunate -- for its animals. They cook using cow dung for fuel.

The reality of life without running or safe water

Water lady and kids

Poor rural women trudge to the village pump to fill water jugs and haul them home. To bathe, a woman goes to the pump, loosens her sari and washes herself under it with soap-less cold water. All the while, other people are with her, washing clothes, collecting water to take to their homes, and socializing. So, having no water at home isn't just hard work. It's a blow to a woman's dignity.

Although tea is safe, given that the water is boiled -- even that is risky as the cups must be cleaned with the cold water at hand, along with ashes or mud as a detergent and scouring tool. This is life in poor rural Nepal.