Defining the problem
Many westerners coming to Nepal for the first time imagine they are in a country where time has stood still, where time is not measured by the watch but by travelling with the different forms of the life cycle such as those determined by Mother Nature. And in many respects this is so. Isolation brought about by its geographical position as well as the many occasionally inaccessible areas mean that until recently age-old traditions and the way of life, well-worn customs, an authoritarian monarchy and the caste system determined the everyday life of the Nepalese. Outdated farming methods and incessant growth of rural population have resulted in there being less and less food available to provide anything like a decent existence. This in turn has led to people being drawn away from rural areas and heading for the big cities such as Kathmandu. There they hope to be better off but hope becomes reality for very few people indeed, as most of them end up worse off. This triggered the Nepalese living in the Netherlands to set up the Nepal Fund and do something about this pull towards the big cities. We began with a number of school projects that resulted in this action plan that experts, imbued with respect for the culture of Nepal, will carry out.