Prayer flags flying over Thakani
Terraced gardens built into the mountainside
provide food for the village
Village woman tending family goats
Village children on their way to school - 2012 (pre-earthquake)
School children gathered for morning exercise
The village of Thakani is in the Sindhupalchowk region of Nepal, about 40 kilometres northeast of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, at an elevation of 1,877 meters (6,158 feet) . There are no modern conveniences such as electricity, running water, or plumbing. Everything not made in the village or in neighboring villages is carried on the backs of porters six hours up the mountain from the Kathmandu Valley.
The current population of Thakani is 1100.
You can view maps of Thakani at http://mapcarta.com/27950660
The Dhauleshowary School
When the project began in 2001, the village school went from grades one to five. With 120 students registered, the average attendance was around 50 students a day, because they were needed at home to work the land and care for younger children. Twice as many boys attended the school as girls. There were three teachers at the school and two completed but scarcely furnished classroom, with very few learning resources.
Today, thanks to the Himalayan School Project and continuous substantial support from St. John's Kilmarnock School in Ontario, the Dhauleshowary school has added a number of additional classrooms and teachers to educate 400 registered students in Grades 1 through 8. The addition of outhouses has contributed significantly to girls' attendance at the school.
Temporary classroom following 2015 earthquake
Classroom at the new Thakani school
Reconstructed with International Aid following 2015 earthquake
Girls from Thakani on their way to school
The people of Thakani are Tamang, one of the lower castes in Nepal. The Tamang people are believed to have come over the Himalayan Mountains from Tibet many centuries ago. The people of the rural areas of Nepal work hard, as they must in order to feed their families. Everyone works, and work comes first. It is not uncommon to see two year old children taking care of even younger siblings, scrubbing pots and pans, or carrying their fair share of the load on their backs. If the work is not done, the children don’t go to school, and unfortunately for the children, the work is never done.
Most families have between three and six children, and the more the better for getting work done. There is a strong preference for boys, as there is no social security in Nepal and it is tradition that boys take over the farm and look after the parents when they are old enough to do so. The exorbitant cost of the dowry that the girl’s family must pay to the husband’s family upon marriage is another reason to pray for a boy.
Thakani woman carrying home livestock fodder gathered in the hills
Thakani woman doing the family dishes at the sole source of water for the entire village
The Challenge: Girl Trafficking and Prostitution
The Sindhupalchowk region of Nepal, and Thakani in particular, are among the regions of the world most troubled by the tragic problem of girl trafficking. The problem is greatest in this area primarily because of the extreme level of poverty, as well as the great demand for Tamang girls, who are renowned for their beauty. In early 1999, it was estimated that there were approximately 100 girls and women from Thakani alone working as prostitutes in Mumbai, India. There is a recent and rising trend to deliberately increase the age on citizenship certificates in order to traffic women to India and Gulf countries for sexual exploitation. The leaders of Thakani have been working hard to change this pattern through education.
Thakani village children
Two Thakani school girls