Written by Yumiko Kawamura, IGA member from Japan
Thanks to the wonderful assistance of Heifer International Nepal, I had the opportunity to visit Siddhi, a hillside village in Chitwan, where most residents are from the Chepang people group. The purpose of my visit to Siddhi was to witness the current livelihood status of Chepang and how goat initiatives deployed in 2012 by Heifer International Nepal are progressing.
The Chepang are one of 125 ethnic groups found in Nepal. They live in central Nepal along the steep slopes of the Mahabharat range from 45 meters to 1,400 meters above sea level. They are found in Makawanpur, Dhading, Chitwan and Gorka Districts, which are among Nepal’s 75 administrative districts. Based on their low economic status and threatened cultural identity, the Chepang are categorized as a highly marginalized indigenous group by National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN) (World Vision Advocacy Forum, 2009). According to a 2011 population census, there are 68,399 Chepang people in Nepal among which 34,640 are males and 33,779 females; and more than 97% of Chepang people live in rural areas (CBS, 2011).