Inspired by God’s heart for poor and marginalised people
Nepal is home to over 100 different castes and ethnic groups, many have their own tribal language. Add to this social status and gender and it becomes clear that a sense of belonging and unity can be a challenge for some. Especially for those who are regarded as lowly, either because of their caste or tribe, or because a disability or disease has singled them out, a sense of belonging and being an equal can truly seem out of reach.Gender, social group and geographic area are major factors that can influence a person’s opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Culture, traditional believes and values are contributing factors to structurally generated poverty and inequality, and deeply entrenched forms of social exclusion.
Not being able to access services, or joining in with community activities because of discrimination or a disability, can make people feel unsafe and vulnerable. Building resilient, safe and inclusive communities means that all are being seen as equal, can take part in community activities and have access to services and public buildings. This is why all our projects specifically focus on the most vulnerable groups – the lowest castes, people affected by “cursed” diseases, or those with a disability.
Jesus said “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40. Jesus had a special love for the ignored and neglected – for society’s underdogs. This is why they are always at the heart of our work.
INF/UK SECONDED DOCTORS AND MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
One way INF/UK is helping to bring change to health and well-being of Nepali people, is by seconding medical professionals to work in Nepal alongside Nepali medical teams.
The Government of Nepal is committed to improving quality and access to health services in the country. Nepal’s medical sector is developing rapidly, but there is still a need to bring extra expertise and train Nepali health care professionals in disciplines that are relatively new in Nepal.
You can find a list of current opportunities here.
The INF/UK office is based in Birmingham.
There are six permanent staff, one pastor, and one volunteer. The team is headed up by John Reynolds (CEO). We support the work of INF by raising much needed money from individuals, churches, and trusts, and encouraging prayer for INF staff and projects.
The work is overseen by a board of eight trustees with a broad experience of Christian mission, especially in Nepal.
A family of organisations
INF UK’s main implementing partner is INF Nepal, a national non-government organisation which carries out health and development work in western Nepal. It is led by a Nepali executive director and has a staff of Nepali experts in relevant areas in health care and community development. INF Nepal is based in Pokhara, Nepal's second-largest city.
Like INF/UK, INF Australia, INF New Zealand and INF Canada help to find people, raise money, and encourage prayer.
Established in 1952, INF is Nepal’s longest-serving international non-government organisation.
On New Year’s Day in 1936 Dr Lily (Pat) O’Hanlon, a missionary in India, read Deuteronomy 11:11-12. She believed God was speaking directly to her through this passage, calling her to Nepal, but the border was closed to all foreigners and even Nepali Christians had to leave the country.
For 15 years Pat and her colleague Hilda Steele ran a dispensary on the Indian side of the border, patiently waiting and praying for an opportunity to enter Nepal. Finally, in 1951, at the beginning of the reign of King Tribhuvan, the situation changed and the borders were opened. In late 1952 Pat, Hilda, four other women, together with four Nepali Christian men, made the nine day journey, mostly on foot, from the southern border of Nepal, northwards to Pokhara. They became the first Christian medical team in the country.
They settled in Pokhara, lived and worked out of bamboo and thatched huts on land owned by a Nepali Christian. In 1954, the team ordered pre-fabricated aluminium huts from India to have safer, more weather-proof buildings. Locals nicknamed the shiny metal huts “Shining Hospital”, a name that was even used by the Government.
Today, INF runs three Shining Hospitals in Nepal, which are treating 35,000 patients each year. The vision is that the hospitals become reputable training centers and a leading example for medical care, setting standards in Nepal’s health sector. You can find out more about INF’s Shining Hospitals here.