There are an estimated three million Nepalis working in the Gulf States and South East Asia, and even more working in India. Whilst bringing additional wealth to many, migration puts strains on family relationships, and many migrants find themselves victims of exploitation.
In Kotdwar, in North-West India, a community of Nepali migrant workers live with their families in a slum near the river. As parents go to work, the children are left to play by the riverbanks, unable to go to school because of deeply entrenched discrimination against them.
INF began working with a Nepali pastor who had come to serve the people in the area. They helped him to set up a tuition centre, which eventually enabled the children to be enrolled in a local government school. There, they quickly rose to the top of the class.
This initiative bought transformation to the whole community. Apart from children now accessing education, living standards were also improved as INF and its partners advocated on their behalf for the government to build retaining walls against potential floods. Parents of some of the children were also set free from alcohol addiction as a result of counselling offered which reduced the incidence of domestic violence in the slum.
Seeing transformation like this is one of the reasons INF’s Diaspora Initiative exists. Under this initiative are two programmes – the India Migrant Initiative and the Migrant Link Initiative which work to serve the Nepali diaspora through literacy classes, children’s tuition, vocational training, health awareness and advocacy.
Various INF partners in Nepali border towns also support migrants, like Masta Bahadur [pictured left], by offering information about safe travel, how to look after their savings and by providing education about HIV/AIDS, this is often done in partnership with local churches. Read some of Masta Bahadur’s story on the Migrant Support fact sheet.
Click to download a detailed Migration Support Factsheet
- As of 2013, remittances from overseas workers accounted for 26% of Nepal’s GDP.
- INF has had a long history of working among the Nepali diaspora beginning with INF’s predecessor organisation over seven decades ago.