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.
Nepalis working overseas
The Nepali diaspora
Many Nepalis work overseas in order to be able to send much needed money home to their families. It is often seen as the only way to provide a year-round income.
As of 2013, remittances from overseas workers accounted for more than a quarter of Nepal’s national income.
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. This, in turn, reduced the incidence of domestic violence in the slum.
Seeing transformation like this is one of the reasons INF’s Diaspora Initiative exists. There are two programmes under this initiative – 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.
Nepalis in the UK
The work of Pastor Abraham
Abraham is a Nepali Christian pastor, who works with INF, supporting and encouraging Nepalis in the UK and Europe.
His work involves evangelism, supporting independent Nepali fellowships, encouraging the establishment of new Nepali fellowships, and providing pastoral care and mentoring.
Nepali Churches and fellowships in the UK and other European countries continue to grow, with new ones being regularly established. Abraham works with the 30 Nepali fellowships and Churches in the UK, and seven groups outside the UK. They are growing in maturity as well as numbers.