Tipling village lies to the northwest of Kathmandu, very close to the Tibet border. It’s home to the Tamang community, one that is traditionally prone to child trafficking. The region was devastated by the April 2015 earthquake as it’s not far from the epicentre – hardly a home wasn’t damaged or flattened. This also increased the risk of trafficking. Following a plea from local Jesuit priest, Father Norbert, ChoraChori has taken ten sixteen year old girls from the village to complete their education in Kathmandu. All have passed the coveted School Leaver’s Certificate (SLC) examination and, following the destruction in Tipling, they couldn’t progress any further in their home area. They are now staying in Shailaja’s home, full of hope for the future.
This month they returned to their village for the Dashain festival and two of our local staff, Yogesh and Pratap, took visitor Toby Foggo to catch up with them. Here is Toby’s letter and pictures received this morning.
“After a week of travel we’re back from our Tipling visit!
Tipling is a little village close to the foot of mount Ganesh in the north of Nepal, about one day’s walk from the Chinese border, where ChoraChori is helping out by giving 10 girls a chance to study near Kathmandu. A lot in this village has been destroyed by the earthquake last year including the educational facilities. This is why ChoraChori is helping them out and arranged a field trip. And I was allowed to join Yogesh and Pratap to get a sense of their livelihood and to document their living conditions.
To get there we travelled two days. One day by bus and jeep followed by an almost 14 hour hike through the mountains. We passed many tiny villages, some consisting of no more than 3 or 4 families. It’s good we had brother Dom as our guide because the terrains are crazy. He is a cook from Tipling who guided us the entire way there.
When we arrived in Tipling it was clear that the people who live there are very poor and live off what the land allows them to grow. Mainly potatoes, corn, mushrooms and millet. They also have chickens, goats and buffaloes. To transport supplies there is very costly so they mainly survive on the bare minimum.
We stayed there with father Norbert. He is an amazing man who has lived in Tipling for a few years now and is trying to help out by educating them and finding organisations who can help Tipling and the surrounding villages. We spoke a lot about the problems in these areas. Child marriage, hunger, poverty and the cold.
We also talked to the families of the ‘Tipling girls and took many pictures of the destruction and their living conditions. A lot of girls get married at a very young age and live their entire lives in these villages without education. Survival is the main drive. But they were all so friendly and every door was open to us where we got invited in for tea or potatoes.
Then after two days there we made our way back via a different route. Over the mountains! Our highest landmark was at 3850 meters, that’s almost half the height of mount Everest! It took us around 14 hours to get to a town called Somdang. Where we stayed the night and got a good 15 hours of public transport (jeep and bus) back to Kathmandu.
There’s so much we have experienced in these 6 days, too much to put into words. This field trip has opened my eyes to how people can survive with so little and how much there can be done to improve their lives. It has humbled me and has given me a new appreciation of how people can be happy with close to nothing. The friendliness and generosity of everyone we met along the way, to me, has been unequaled. I have learnt a lot from this experience and I am very grateful.”
Toby’s is fundraising for ChoraChori and “The Tipling Girls” through the Justgiving link below:
A Tipling house
Earthquake damage to a Tipling home turns it into a death trap for future tremors
Tipling village with a landslide in the background
View inside the village
A temporary home made from wood