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Raptipari means ‘on the other side of the Rapti river’ in Nepali. The villages in Raptipari are exactly that – across a large river and very inaccessible. Nepal’s poorest have little choice but to live in often-precarious locations such as this, an area devastated by the August floods.

Despite the significant challenges two villages in Raptipari, Western Nepal, are flourishing five years after INF began working in the remote area in 2012.

A vision trip from Australia, led by long-term INF worker Peggy Franks, had the opportunity to speak with locals in each village and hear their stories of success and sustainability.

The group of eleven visited Binauna and Phattepur in Banke District where INF’s Community Health and Development work has been equipping locals to identify community issues and work collectively to improve lives.

INF facilitated Self-Help Groups had set up savings and loans schemes which have enabled community members to establish businesses. The groups then formed their own not-for-profit organisation to represent the community and continue the work that INF started. These organisations have worked hard on environmental improvements, introducing electricity to the villages and encouraging more small business growth.

“It was really encouraging to share the morning with one village and then another in the afternoon. The vision group asked lots of questions and we were asked many questions about life in Australia,” says Peggy. “We were impressed with the commitment of the Community Health and Development Team Leader who gave up her more comfortable lifestyle in Nepalgunj, to be away from her family and church for five years to live in these villages. The process seems to be very successful and sustainable in bringing hope to small isolated villages.”

The group from Australia also had the opportunity to visit several INF offices and other local non-government organisations working in the areas of health and employment.

The lives of the people on the Vision trip have been enriched, expanded, challenged and blessed in many ways,” says Peggy.

To find out more about 2018 Vision trips and treks contact the INF Australia office at ausoffice@au.inf.org.