Background on Chepang Community
Chepang are the indigenous Tibeto-Burman community inhabiting the ridges of Mahabharat mountain range ofcentral Nepal. The shy and nomadic Chepangs have over the past two or three generation been more outwardly andsemi-nomadic. They usually live in caves or thatched houses relying increasingly on the production of crops such as maize, millet and bananas.
Chepang community are influenced by both Hinduism and Buddhism, however, they follow Animism where people perceive everything such as animals, plants, rocks, rivers, etc as religious object. They speak Tibetp-Burman,Raute and Raji languages. Chepang language is one of the rare languages which uses a duodeciml counting system.
Chepang are one of the most vulnerable communities of Nepal standing very low in Human Development Index (HDI). Chepang were highly affected by the April 2015 earthquake and the 2015 Nepal Blockade. The Nepal Red Cross has stepped in providing them with the relief, in turn, opportunistically converting them to Christianity.
Due to poverty, lack of education, awareness and health facilities,the people of Chepang community are often in bad health, specially children, old people and women. The children are so underprivileged and often suffer from malnutrition diseases,pneumonia, diarrhea, typhoid, etc. Similarly, dysmenorrhea and uterine bleeding are very common in women of Chepang communities due to child marriage, low diet and unhygienic sanitations. Women and children also suffer from lungs disease as women cook inside a close house in firewood. The old people of this community often suffer from hypertension due to poor economic condition, dysentery and eye problems such as conjunctivitis and cataract. The people of Chepang community also have otitis externa and otitis media as a common ear problem.
The nearest health post accessible to the people of this Chepang community is in Bhandara, Chitwan, 150 Km away
from their village area. To reach the health post the people have to walk around 4-5 hours to a place called Dam and take a bus to Bhandara for about 1.5-2 hours. However, the available health is also in a poor state and have no proper facilities. There is dearth of doctors, nurses and medicines in the hospital. People often do not get an opportunity for checkup.