Tharu Steps

The Tharu people have an interesting and complex history. While they were the original inhabitants of the Terai region they are now a marginalized and discriminated against community. The Tharu people are naturally resistant to malaria, which allowed them to inhabit the malaria stricken area of the Terai for thousands of years. In the 1950s the World Health Organization (WHO) worked with the Nepali government to eradicate malaria from the terai. This allowed the richer more educated hill people to come in to the Terai and claim ownership of lands which the Tharu had owned and worked for millennia but had never bothered to register. This forced the original landowning Tharu to work as indentured servants for the numerous hill people who had come and usurped there land. In the year 2000 the Nepali government made indentured servitude illegal and the landowners cum slaves were kicked off of their family lands and made homeless with no source of income, many being forced to sell their children into the Kamalari system, another form of indentured servitude, just to survive. Today not enough is being done to help alleviate the Tharu and other discriminated groups.

Which is why we recommend contacting Mohan at Tharu Steps he is developing an educational grant system to help talented and educated children to attend schools they were previously not able to afford. Because Mohan is Tharu and was raised in the Tharu community he also knows numerous schools and NGOs which are in a major need of help from Volunteers. For people coming to Volunteer there will be no fees, no external administration and all of their contributions go to wherever the volunteers want them to. In Mohan’s own words “We will never ask for anything, we have food, we have space, we can feed and house the volunteers, and if they want to contribute something they can.”

Because the Terai is off the beaten path not as many tourists come through as in Pokhara and Kathmandu meaning there are less available resources and talent to be utilized. Skills as simple as speaking english, basic computer knowledge, crafting, or construction techniques are all in huge demand to help modernize and improve a community with a rich cultural heritage.


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